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Barcelona end speculation over shirt sponsorship with new Qatar Airways deal

Barcelona renew Qatar Airways deal

Barcelona have ended speculation over their lucrative shirt sponsorship after announcing a one-year extension with Qatar Airways.

The new deal will be worth a reported £29.3m (€35m), according to Spanish media reports, which is slightly more than the previous £27.6m (€33m) per-season deal it agreed with Qatar Airways in 2010.

The continued partnership with Qatar began to look unlikely amid reports that the Catalan club were close to agreeing a four year shirt sponsorship deal with Amazon from 2017. The drawn out negotiations even led to the La Liga champions launching their new 2016-17 Nike kit without any sponsor on the Jersey.

On announcing the new deal Barcelona’s vice-president of marketing and communication, Manel Arroyo, said: “Qatar Airways has helped us to make Barça bigger in recent years. The success that has accompanied the Club has partly been their work. It is a pleasure to be able to work together for another season and we hope to continue along the same lines of mutual growth”.

The ties with Qatar Airways have proven controversial among many of Barcelona’s supporters and even the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu who publically criticised the Gulf state's internal politics during presidential elections in summer 2015.

In June Barcelona’s marketing and communication vice-president Manel Arroyo revealed that the club were in discussions with “a dozen big global companies” over a new shirt sponsorship deal worth €60-65m (£50.2-54.3m a year).

Despite the speculation over the shirt sponsorship continuing with Qatar Airways remained likely given the organisation’s support for Barca's planned €600m expansion of their Camp Nou stadium.

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