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Thu 21 Jan 2016 11:32 AM

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Qatar-owned football club orders rapper to take down 'Fly Pirates' music video

British singer MIA's latest video contains a Paris St. Germain's jersey with a modified version of sponsor Emirates Airline's logo

Qatar-owned football club orders rapper to take down 'Fly Pirates' music video

French football club Paris St. Germain (PSG), which is owned by Qatar, has issued a legal threat to a British rapper demanding she take down a music video containing a modified version of their official jersey, which contains a modified version of the logo of lead sponsor Emirates Airline.

Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name M.I.A., released the new video for her latest single ‘Border’ in November 2015 and the song about the refugee crisis has garnered 1.25 million views.

At roughly three minutes and 33 seconds into the video the singer is shown wearing the official jersey of the PSG football club. However, the logo of main sponsor, Dubai’s Emirates Airline, has been modified from ‘Fly Emirates’ to ‘Fly Pirates’ in reference to the theme of the song and video.

Click here to see the video for 'Borders'

In a legal letter sent to the singer, PSG’s deputy CEO Jean Claude Blanc threatened to take legal action if the clip containing the modified jersey was not removed. “We consider that the use of our brand and image in a video clip denouncing the treatment of refugees is a source of discredit for our club and distorts its public communications policy,” Blanc said in the letter.

“You unduly took advantage of our popularity and reputation to enhance the attractiveness of your artist and consequently the profits of your company,” he add in the letter dated December 14 and posted on the singer’s official Twitter account. The letter demands the singer’s management remove the clip within 24 hours and compensate the club for the harm it has suffered.

In an interview with Vice magazine, M.I.A. admitted she bought the original jersey while transiting through Doha on her way to make the video.

“Yeah, but I made the Fly Pirates bit. I put the P on there. I took the official one that did say Fly Emirates, but it could have been an Arsenal or a Real Madrid tee or something like that. Whichever one they sponsor. But I specifically took the Paris one because I have friends in Paris and I thought it would have been a nice way to link it. I didn’t really think I would get in trouble because I modified it to ‘Fly Pirates’,” she was quoted as saying.

“I just find it extremely arrogant that they are trying to police something like that. You can’t police who wears it, how they wear it, and when they wear it. If you’re representing a type of people and you’re making a film about Japanese samurai fighters, you’re going to have to put them in a samurai outfit. I think if you’re talking about migrants or refugees or people generally living in war-zones, unfortunately sportswear and football tops are part of the uniform. How are you going to police that? Obviously I can’t afford to go in court. I’ve been in court for four years now straight. If I have to spend another year in court, I don’t know what I’ll do,” she added.

PSG was bought by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011 and the following year it became the sole shareholder. Emirates has been PSG's main shirt sponsor since 2006. The Dubai airline declined to comment on the M.I.A. video when contacted by Arabian Busines.

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