The Spanish La Liga club, FC Barcelona has reportedly severed its ties with the official aviation partner, Qatar Airways. The club and the aviation company apparently had a “firm agreement” and the contracts were already drafted in March to continue their partnership.
However, those contracts were never signed and both sides backed off as club signed a new deal with Japanese e-commerce company, Rakuten for the jersey sponsorship, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The draft reportedly would have kept Qatar Airways as sponsor for four years. But Rakuten became the new jersey sponsor, outbidding Qatar Airways for the honour. The club and the airline company ended up getting away completely after finishing the sponsorship of the first team jersey on June 30.
Rakuten relieved Qatar Airways as the main sponsor by paying $58 million a year, much more than $33.5 million that the airline paid in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
Meanwhile, Neymar’s signing for Paris Saint-Germain, a club funded by Qatar, was not well-received by the club’s board. Josep Maria Bartomeu, the President of FC Barcelona is said to oppose any further connection with the Arab country. Before Qatar Airways, the Turkish Airlines was the official airline of the club.
Barcelona is still working to achieve a good sponsorship agreement for the training shirt and the title rights of the new Camp Nou. The Catalan club is expecting a value of $240 million for the stadium title rights and training shirt sponsorship valued at about $15 million annually.