FC Barcelona announced today that Qatar Airways will replace the Qatar Foundation as the club’s main sponsor from next season onwards. As the club’s "new" main sponsor, the Qatar Airways logo will grace the front of Barcelona shirts across the world and also as a result of the deal, the club’s official airline will change from the beginning of next season. According to information supplied by the club, the contract signed with Qatar Sports Investments included the possibility of including a new sponsor on the shirt from the third season of the deal, and therefore one can assume that a change was always on the cards.
Typically, the reaction to the announcement has been mixed. There’s a vocal minority who oppose the change, and while it would be an exaggeration to say that everyone else is "happy", the majority of Culés do not seem to care. And who can blame them? Barcelona receive the same amount of money per year regardless of who or what is on the front of the shirt, and in this day and age, it’s naive to suggest that Barca should turn down vast sums of cash for such "little" things.
Granted, after over 100 years without a sponsor, there will be some fans who will never accept this deal with Qatar Sports Investment, but in truth, what difference does it really make? At current, Barcelona are affiliated with a number of other sponsors including Nike, Audi, Estrella Damm, Coca Cola...the list goes on and on. The Camp Nou is also emblazoned with numerous adverts and our players are affiliated with a plethora of companies; how can someone oppose this particular deal when there are hundreds of others already in place at the club?
Barcelona will always be més que un club and no sponsorship deal can possibly change that.