Qatar, which won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, agreed to sponsor the jerseys of three-time European soccer champion Barcelona until 2016.
The Spanish team said it will get 30 million euros ($39.8 million) a year to promote the Qatar Foundation, which bankrolls education in the Persian Gulf state.
Qatar, which has the world’s third-largest gas reserves, last week became the smallest nation to win the right to host the World Cup. It’s tying itself to a club that provided half Spain’s World Cup-winning team and all three shortlisted players for the world player of the year award: Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.
The accord is “an extraordinary landmark because it’s a record amount” for a soccer team sponsorship, Barcelona said on its website today.
Barcelona has for decades shunned paid-for advertising on its jerseys, which carried the logo of the United Nations Children’s Fund since 2006.
The Qatar Foundation was launched in 1995. Calls to its spokesman Tariq Alsada went unanswered today.
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