BARCELONA | PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
Only Bartomeu wants Qatar’s millions for Barça
All the other pre-candidates in the presidential elections want to change the club’s sponsorship deal. Qatar are offering 50-60 million euros a season as of 2016.
Qatar have made an offer of between 50 to 60 million euros a season to continue their association with Barcelona after the current contract, signed in 2010, runs out in 2016. A sum of money that would seduce most, but not six of the pre-candidates in the Barça presidential elections. Only Bartomeu, who recently stood down as president to allow the elections to take place, is keen on the relationship with the oil rich country, which began under former president Rosell. (If Bartomeu wins the elections the members will vote on the new Qatar deal at the general assembly in October). The other precandidates would rather have nothing to do with the Arab country, and comments came from Agustí Benedito’s campaign that being sponsored by Qatar was like “being linked with Islamic State”.
The businessman is the pre-candidate who has been most vociferous in his rejection of Qatar: "If we win the elections, I can guarantee you that Qatar won’t be with us”. He went further, trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle: “One of the main clients of Rosell was the Qatar government. They have a type of obsession with the country. In my opinion this contract can be broken now, I don’t accept it”.
But Benedito isn’t on his own. Jordi Majó, who also made a bid for the presidency in 2003, shares the same opinion. The veteran entrepreneur was clear: “We’re against having Qatar on the shirt and we’ll propose three sponsors to the members so they can choose the one they want”.
Laporta has also spoken out against Qatar, saying "They [Bartomeu's campaign] are Qatar, we are Unicef. Money is not everything. The contract with Qatar seems to be as secret like the formula of Coca Cola. Nobody believes this story of Qatar, we want to promote the model of La Masia".
It was Javier Faus, who was economic vice-president from 2010 until a few weeks ago, along with Rosell, who brought in QSI (Qatar Sports Investments) and put the advertising of their choice on the shirt for 171 million euros over five years. The new deal will double that amount, but is still far below the 80 million euros paid by Chevrolet to Manchester United.
Jordi Farré thinks that Catalonia should sponsor Barça, while Toni Freixa former board spokesman said: “The Qatar era is over”.