National carrier Qatar Airways  has entered into a strategic partnership with football giants FC Barcelona  that would see the airline’s brand name appear on first-team shirts from the start of the 2013/14 season.
The three-year agreement with the runaway Spanish league leaders and former winners of the Champions League  will be effective from July 1.
Qatar Airways will become the club’s Global Main Partner, signalling the first time the airline has engaged in a sponsorship agreement with a major football club.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Baker said that it is a unique partnership between the “world’s best football club and the world’s best airline”, describing the alignment with Barca as a “fitting match for both organisations, which will elevate the brands to a new platform on the global stage and sharing the same values – passionate about being the best at what we do in our respective fields”.
Al-Baker was joined by FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell to announce the upcoming partnership at a joint Press Conference held at the club’s home stadium, Camp Nou yesterday.
“FC Barcelona is a club that exemplifies passion, pride, heritage and culture at its core. These are values we share, admire and are fundamental to Qatar Airways,” said al-Baker.
“Qatar Airways is entering a new chapter in our short history. We look forward to working with, and engaging with, the club, the fans and the people of Barcelona to help make a real difference through this exciting new partnership. It is great pride for my airline and my country to see Qatar Airways feature on FC Barcelona’s first-team shirts from next season.” FC Barcelona, the reigning Copa del Rey – Spanish Cup – champions, is a club steeped in history dating back more than 100 years.
Owned by the fans and by the people of Catalonia, the club is one of the richest in the world, home to world-class players, including the world’s best player Lionel Messi.
Club president Rosell said: “From July 1, we will be able to work with global company Qatar Airways, with whom we share many things such as the search for excellence. This sponsorship deal will bring great advantages, not just for the club, but also for our city and our country.” He also thanked current shirt sponsors Qatar Foundation: “This is an organisation we have had a very productive relationship with during these last two years and which we will continue to be connected with.” Qatar Foundation will continue its relationship with FC Barcelona as Human Development Partner.
As part of the agreement with Qatar Airways, the airline’s name will adorn, from the start of the 2013/14 season, Barca first-team shirts at La Liga matches across Spain, Champions League matches across Europe, as well as friendly matches, including FC Barcelona’s pre-season tours.
The airline will be working with FC Barcelona on creating joint initiatives, centring on added value flight and holiday packages for fans globally, as well as a host of community programmes involving loyal followers across the world ensuring both brands remain at the pinnacle of their respective fields.
Qatar Airways has been present in Spain for over seven years, initially launching flights to the capital Madrid, before introducing Barcelona to its network in June 2010.
The carrier now operates 17 services each week to and from Spain – daily non-stop between Doha and Madrid, and a further 10 weekly flights linking Barcelona with the Qatar capital and onward connections to scores of destinations across the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.