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Thu 28 Jan 2016 12:28 PM

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FC Barcelona execs arrive in Doha to negotiate new shirt sponsor deal

Management are aiming to sign a new agreement with Qatar Airways

FC Barcelona execs arrive in Doha to negotiate new shirt sponsor deal
(Getty Images)

Executives from FC Barcelona have travelled to Doha to negotiate a final deal for Qatar Aiways to remain the club’s primary shirt sponsor, according to various media reports online.

The club’s vice president Manel Arroyo and commercial director Francesco Calvo travelled to Doha on Wednesday to meet with directors of Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) to negotiate the terms of the deal.

In October, FC Barcelona postponed a decision regarding the deal as it held out for a better deal from the Doha-based airline.

The Spanish club are reportedly seeking a deal with Qatar Airways worth an estimated $290 million over four years, as they look to extend the current agreement with the airline beyond the 2016/17 season, which expires in June.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, speaking at the club’s General Assembly, told supporters that FC Barcelona would like to extend its relationship with the Doha-based carrier.

“We have agreed to continue our negotiations with Qatar Airways. We now have a bit more time. The dialogue with Qatar is ongoing, and there is a clear willingness from both sides,” Bartomeu said last year.

“We're happy with the deal that has been in place for the last few years. The negotiations will continue, as we seek to reach the agreement which we are both deserving of. Please don't worry, because we certainly are not,” he added.

The arrival of the Spanish executives in Doha comes as it was announced Qatar has signed up as a “platinum” sponsor of Bayern Munich, adding Germany’s richest and most successful soccer club to the range of football brands it backs.

Doha’s state-owned Hamad International Airport agreed a “long-term” contract to sponsor Bayern Munich, Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer of Qatar Airways, who also oversees the hub, said at a press briefing Wednesday. The value and duration of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Qatar also owns Paris Saint-Germain soccer club, the reigning French champions, outright, via Qatar Sports Investments, an offshoot of its sovereign wealth fund.

Bayern Munich held its winter training camp in Qatar for the sixth time this year, a move that’s led to criticism in Germany over the Gulf state’s human rights record and the death- toll among migrants who comprise more than 90 percent of the workforce.

Qatar, holder of the world’s third-largest natural-gas reserves, was awarded the next-but-one World Cup ahead of the US, Japan and Australia, despite the fact that it has never qualified for the finals, has little established soccer infrastructure and boasts summer temperatures that can reach 50 Celsius. The tournament has since been shifted to winter to ease conditions for players.

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