This isn’t The Onion, this is serious. Some Barcelona shirts have been banned in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, due to political reasons. That’s because shirts over the past few seasons (but not the newest one) have carried the logo for Qatar Airways or The Qatar Foundation, and right now, several countries are let’s say... not in the best of terms with Qatar.
*Note: Saudi Arabia participating in this ban has been reported by Squawka among others, citing Sky Italy. The UAE ban was reported by FourFourTwo and DW. It’s possible Squawka made a mistake in saying KSA are doing this, and it’s just the UAE. We’ll update this if we can get confirmation.
The Saudi Kingdom, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing them of supporting ISIS. Regardless of whether that’s true or not, it’s undeniable there is a lot of tension now.
That means that wearing a Barcelona shirt could lead to hefty fines or even a 15-year prison sentence. Yikes. Thankfully, the newest Barcelona shirt is sponsored by Japanese company Rakuten, meaning you’re free to wear it without risking such punishment.
Of course, prior Barcelona shirts either had the UNICEF logo or no sponsorship at all. Those are fine too, and in fact, most fans prefer them anyways.
Due to the political nature of this dispute, I’m going to ask people in advance: please refrain from making offensive comments in this post. Thank you.