Barça Reportedly Set to Sell First Commercial Shirt Sponsorship

Unicef.  If there is any one word that captures the contemporary sense of Més que un club it would perhaps be Unicef.  Unfortunately, there have been recent reports that the club is going to sell the shirt sponsorship and alter how and possibly where Unicef is located on the jersey.

Via the indefatigable Pep of Barça stuff – comes the news that earlier today those reports took on new specificity with Catalunya Radio stating that the Barça  board had agreed to sell the shirt sponsorship to the Qatar Foundation for 166M € over a five year period.

At this point in time caution is urged.  The reports of a final sale are very preliminary in their sourcing and may prove to be completely erroneous.  However, the club has called a press conference for 12pm Barcelona time today.

Though it’s very preliminary, given the importance of what would potentially be the first commercial shirt sponsorship in club history, I thought it would be useful to try to take a look at the issue from a few different angles.

Key Issues and Questions:

In framing this discussion there are two questions that need to be considered initially.  While they are connected it’s helpful to look at them as separate issues first:

1.  Should the shirt sponsorship be sold?

2.  If it is to be sold, to whom should it be sold to? What is the appropriate organization?

Other critical issues such as: if there is a sponsor how should the image appear on the shirt? and if there is a sponsor what should be done with Unicef? follow from the first two fundamental questions above.

To frame the discussion I think it would be helpful to discuss both of the questions outlined above.  And a useful exercise would be to discuss both questions even if you answer the first as no.  Debate the merits of the first question on whether the shirt should be sold.  However, even if you say no, for a moment accept as inevitable that the board will sell the shirt and then consider to whom it should be sold.

For the sake of clarity, I believe the financial issues at play are the most complicated and probably the least familiar to most people.  As such I will spend most of the time focusing on those.  The length of that section in no way indicates that finances are more important than any other factor.  It’s simply a matter of familiarity.

Should the Shirt Sponsorship Be Sold?

The primary reasons to sell the shirt are of course financial.  I’m going to go into the finances in some detail as this is probably the area that needs some clarification.  There’s two sides of the financial issues:  1.  Lost revenue and opportunity cost, that is the impact that not selling has on missed potential revenue; 2.  Pressure from internal financial conditions that require new revenue generation.

Lost Potential Revenue Sponsorship

To put into perspective the opportunity cost from lost revenue let’s compare how Barça ’s revenues compare to two other clubs, Real Madrid, the club with the highest grossing revenues in the world, and Bayern Munich, the club with the most revenues generated through commercial activities (table via the invaluable Swiss Ramble blog):

Real Madrid generates the most revenue of any club in the world.  In comparison to Barça  they generated 35M more in 08/09 (most recent complete data available).  As you can see from the table, the two clubs are comparable in most categories except for commercial activity where Madrid generates 27M € more.

So what accounts for that 27M?  Much of it is from shirt sponsorship.  When this data was taken, Madrid was making roughly 14-15M € from its sponsorship.  Barcelona has no comparable source of revenue.  In addition, Madrid has more recently renewed that sponsorship deal with on line gambling company bwin increasing its total to 20-23M through 2013.

How lucrative could a shirt sponsorship be?  Well to get that answer let’s compare Barça  with Bayern Munich.  Barça ’s overall revenues are 76M € more than Bayern as Barça  generates 88M more in TV revenue and 40M more on match day (Bayern has set their ticket prices very low).  However, on commercial revenue Bayern swamps Barça  drawing in 47M € more.

Again, a large proportion of this is from shirt sponsorship.  Bayern have the most lucrative shirt sponsorship deal in the world, making 18M € for its shirt.  Recently it has renewed its deal most of this difference is due to the shirt sponsorship and it will increase to 25M € with incentives that could take it to 30M.

Internal Finances

Barça ’s financial situation has been both controversial and has drawn much attention with the new board re-auditing the club’s books and declaring the club in financial crisis. I don’t want to get into the politics and accounting of this issue right now.  For a in depth revue see the Swiss Ramble’s analysis. The main point from the perspective of shirt sponsorship is that the board has publicly stated on numerous occasions that the club is in serious financial difficulties and its policies will follow in turn. This is the stated strategic need that is reportedly driving the way the club is now operating.

During the most recent club elections Rosell was often open about his willingness to sell the shirt sponsorship.  He was forced to play a difficult political dancing act at the same time however as he needed to reaffirm support for Unicef.  His position evolved and became conditional as he said:

“Could a commercial sponsor be included, together with Unicef? That depends on the club’s finances. First you have to see what the real economic situation of the club is and then you can make decisions that are more or less altruistic. If you don’t know the numbers, you can not give a well-founded opinion.”

– Sandro Rosell

Later on he would downplay his willingness to sell the shirt.  But with the new audit by the board which made the allowed him to”know the numbers” and the subsequent declaration of financial difficulty, Rosell appears to be moving forward with the position stated above.

Why the Club Should Not Sell the Shirt?

I’m going to leave this section to you to discuss below as the reasons are very clear.  Philosophy.  History.  Symbolism.  Tradition.  Identity.  Brand development.  Messaging.  Unicef.  The reasons are numerous and I’m sure will make for passionate discussion below.

It’s very possible that by the time you read this, the club has already announced a sponsorship sale.  Even if that happens whether or not the shirt should be sold is still a question that needs to be asked and debated.

If the Club Does Sell Whom Should They Sell To?

What kind of organization should a sponsorship be sold to?  What characteristics should it have in its own organizational mission?  What kinds of organizations should be disallowed from sponsorship?  These are only a few of the key question to debate.

Again, by the time you read a sale may be complete.  Regardless, it’s still important to discuss these questions as they give us a framework to begin to debate the merits of whatever organization may ultimately act as a sponsor.  Even if the sale doesn’t happen in the near future they help structure the issue for us to think about.

The article from Sport describes the position of the board as follows (translation courtesy of Total Barça ):

Sandro Rosell has already warned during the election process that all future options remain open, including a shirt sponsor, although there will be some minimum requirements. Barça, as one of the world’s best clubs, would only be willing to associate their image with a brand that was in the same situation. Barça will only yield its image to a multinational project/company that holds and could contribute further to the international values that the club currently defends and promotes.

These requirements rule out some sponsors that have been suggested in recent years, since the current board has stated that they will not use sponsors from the bunch of companies related to gambling, betting or practices that contrast somewhat with the values advocated by UNICEF. The international market is restricted, but the club is aware of possible deals that from now will be sorted and analyzed. The shirt is already on the market and has a price.

Again, I’ll leave it as this and let you take up the merits of these positions in the discussion session.

What to Make of the Qatar Foundation?

First off, there are reports that the club has called for press conference at 12pm Barcelona time to announce the deal.  Until it’s official we should reserve judgment.

However, given the reports of an impending sale let’s take a preliminary look at the Qatar Foundation. If they do become the sponsor it will be a long process to understand what they do and what they represent given that they are relatively unknown. Let’s take a first step.

The Qatar Foundation describes it’s mission as follows:

Qatar Foundation is leading Qatar’s drive to become an advanced knowledge-based society. It is transforming Qatari society by educating the rising generation to the highest world standards – these will be the skilled professionals who will be the country’s future leaders. It is turning Qatar into a producer of knowledge by building a research base. Some of the new ideas will reach the stage of commercialization, helping diversify the economy. Qatar Foundation is also reaching out to individual sectors of the community and addressing social issues to accelerate the human development process in numerous directions.

Outside of what I’ve read, I know a very limited amount about the Qatar Foundation so please take my comments as highly conditional.

Provisionally, I think there are two keys to why this sponsor was chosen.  Firstly and most obviously of course is money.  Simply put Barça will make a staggering amount of money from this deal.  If the reported numbers are correct and the deal is 166M/5yrs Barça will be generating more revenue from its shirt sponsorship than any club in the world.

A second reason that I would guess was critical to this deal is the nature of the Qatar Foundation and the work it does.  From what I understand (which as stated is limited), the Qatar Foundation is a government funded non-profit organization in Qatar focused on developing educational initiatives and infrastructure in the country and region.  They have a wide portfolio of projects ranging from grade school to graduate education.  In addition, they have a wide range of international partnerships with other educational and research insitutions.  A number of Western universities and research organizations have opened up schools and branches in Qatar as joint ventures with the Qatar Foundation.  For example, Carnegie Mellon University and Cornell University from the U.S. and HEC Paris from France all have campuses in Qatar through the Qatar Foundation.

I have worked with colleagues that have done research work through one of these joint ventures set up between the Qatar Foundation and a Western educational institution. Anecdotally, I can say that those colleagues of mine did in fact engage in serious research as part of their work in Qatar.

Final Thoughts

To me, it has long seemed highly likely that the shirt would be sold after the election and the audit produced the results they did.  Rosell’s comments during the election, the subsequent audit, and declared financial crisis in the club made it almost inevitable.  They created a narrative whose conclusion would almost inevitably be sponsorship sale. The key step here was declaration of severe financial distress. Once this happens then all policies, practices and traditions become uncertain and subject to change.

In some ways I had already resigned myself to the sale, though all of this possibly coming on so suddenly is a surprise in timing.  In turn, for me, the looming questions have been who would the club sell to and how would they fit with the social mission of the club?  The next question that immediately then pops up – What happens to Unicef?

The fact that the Qatar Foundation is a non-profit focused on education to me seems like a major key to the deal.  Selling the shirt sponsorship to a non-profit (even one in another country) is going to give Rosell the cover he needs to make this deal.  It allows him to state that the club is staying true to its social mission. There are very few potential opportunities where Barca could be sponsored by a non-profit and still generate considerably more revenue in commercial shirt sponsorship than any other club in the world.  I’m not supporting this or saying it’s the right thing to do – I’m just explaining why I think this particular sponsor may be chosen if in fact the Qatar Foundation does assume sponsorship as has been reported.

At the same time, while the sponsorship may directly come from a non-profit, the money is ultimately coming from the government of Qatar, which is the major funder of the foundation from what I understand (which may be very incomplete).  The involvement of any country’s government with Barca’s first commercial shirt sponsor carries its own host of precarious issues.

I’ll allow all of you to debate the merits of these arguments in the comments. There’s a great deal to talk about and a number of difficult, complicated issues.

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  1. Nick
    December 10, 2010

    Allowing this to proceed will surely open up future opportunities for others, and it could well be the case that “others” are not always going to be foundations with good causes. In other words, we will become like other clubs, which is unacceptable.

    • drew
      December 10, 2010

      To follow your last sentence, someone in the MD comments said something along the lines of ‘un club mes’.
      Not a good day today.

  2. Ben
    December 10, 2010

    Why does the Qatar Foundation want to sponsor Barca’s shirt?

    Usually for businesses the logic goes

    sponsorship = greater name recognition = greater sales = greater profits

    But for a nonprofit?

    sponsorship = greater name recognition = greater donations?

    I’m doubtful that they will get 30M a year more in donations because they are on Barca’s shirt.

    • Rohanv
      December 10, 2010

      I’ll defend the foundation — it only does good work, and it has been hugely helpful both in Qatar and the region, from funding schools in Iraq to facilitating the movement of volunteers and donations during environmental crises. There’s nothing sinister, insidious or corrupt about the foundation.

      Why spend so much money on sponsorship, then? I’d have to say it’s part of the Qatari ruling family’s desire to establish the country as the prime educational, scientific and sports destination in the Middle East (as opposed to say, Dubai’s touristic, Las Vegas of the Middle East image.) Part of that is getting global recognition for their premier nonprofit (which puts the name of the country front and center), and associating with a footballing (and lifestyle) ideology like Barcelona’s would only help. Essentially, they’re trying to offer rich, but large-hearted patronage a la the Medici family. (Please don’t take that analogy too far.)

      Do I think that’s a good thing, then? I dunno. In a perfect world, we’re self-sufficient, make enough money to pay for the club and even some profit, some of which can go to UNICEF, whose cause we support. It’s not a perfect world, and we’re pretty deep in debt, no matter whose accountants you believe. I’ve always thought the no-shirt-sponsor thing was only going to be a thing until it wasn’t anymore, if that makes any sense. (As opposed to say, no names on the backs of jerseys in college football, where you can go back and forth about it.)

      If I knew that the club absolutely needed a lot (LOT) of money soon, and there wasn’t any other fiscal way out of the mess, I’d say QF is a pretty good way to go, and probably the only relatively benign organization that could offer us THAT MUCH money. Whether we’re actually in that position, fiscally, I don’t have the economic acumen to say.

      • Varughese
        December 10, 2010

        Unofficially, Qatar Royal Family has become the offcial sponsor of Barca, wonderful… Great day for the motto “Mes Que un Club”. I have friends working in Qatar. They are not even allowed to put Christmas Stars outside their house. So this is Rosell’s idea of liberal society?

        When the Asian Games were conducted in Qatar, they promised to provide Christian communities with places to build churches. They kept their promise. But after the games were over and the churches were built most of the guys who worked for those church(like organising the evnts), got their work permit cancelled.

        Great work Rosell, keep it up.

        • outerspacedout
          December 10, 2010

          Qatar has churches and synagogues… well for any event like the Asian Games or any event pretty much all related work permits only last for the duration of the event. No country I know lets you stay in there on a work permit after the duration of the work is done, it’d be like a Wimbledon organizer from say India expecting to be allowed to stay on living in London after the event is over. Event-related work permits being cancelled after the end of an event IS how the world runs, whether it was church workers or people organizing the award ceremonies or the security detail or whatever from abroad.

  3. Gav
    December 10, 2010

    Qatar has dubious human rights issues…According to the Trafficking in Persons Report by the US State Department, men and women who are lured into Qatar by promises of high wages are often forced into underpaid labor. The report states that Qatari laws against forced labour are rarely enforced and that labour laws often result in the detention of victims in deportation centres, pending the completion of legal proceedings. The report places Qatar at tier 3, as one of the countries that neither satisfies the minimum standards nor demonstrates significant efforts to come into compliance….
    ….Barca really should not be aligned with with this.

  4. Jnice
    December 10, 2010

    Nice write-up, Euler.

    Interesting to note that Sandro won’t be attending the scheduled press conference. I wonder why.

    • December 10, 2010

      If it happens, It won’t be the first time he hides behind his directors shoulders and sneak to see the reaction.

  5. December 10, 2010

    “Selling the shirt sponsorship to a non-profit (even one in another country) is going to give Rosell the cover he needs to make this deal. It allows him to state that the club is staying true to its social mission.”

    It was better to sell the shirt to a commercial brand. At least Barca wouldn’t have taken 166 M from a budget supposed to be spent on good causes.

    There is a huge deference between the initial mission and the current approach. We paid UNICEF, this one is buying us.

    • BA
      December 10, 2010

      precisely, Ramzi. that final point is the key difference. Rosell has in a single stroke turned us from a club that offers it’s name for charity into a club that sells it’s name for money. period.

      i don’t care if Qatar offered us $500,000,000 for the rights to advertise on our shirts, i was under the impression that the front of our shirt (unlike ALL other major clubs) was a sacred place, where the colors and badge have priority over money-making opportunities; evidently i was wrong. that we had no sponsor was a point of pride and of principle, and it set us not just apart from but in opposition to the teams who hawk gambling and beer and the plaything companies of rich Arab princelings. now, nonprofit sponsor or not, we’re down amongst them taking money in exchange for the defacement of our colours.

      shameful. shameful. shameful. i’ve only begun to register how angry this makes me, and can only hope it’s just a big hoax.

  6. K(legit)
    December 10, 2010

    Question: Why Qatar?
    Why not a non-profit organisation based in Catalunya itself?
    Aston Villa did it with their jersey sporting ‘Acorns'(//’s_Hospice) last season

    • December 10, 2010

      1) I dont think in the current recession period in Spain that you can find any organization (commercial or not ready to pay tat much)

      2) Rosell connections in Qatar are not new. Not that I am comparing it to the so-called Txiki-Traffic connections or anything.

      Qatar or not, thats not an issue for me. It is the deal itself.

      • K(legit)
        December 10, 2010

        I mean if you are looking for a ‘Non-Profit Organisation’ then you might as well look closer to home no?
        Why put up this smoke screen of ‘philanthropy’ when what you are looking for is indeed a fat pay-off?
        I can’t believe the socis agreed to this..There was a vote on this right? or has even that been discarded.

        • December 10, 2010

          Traditionally the board of directors concult members through Assembly. And thats where things used to collapse at FC Barcelona when a sponsorship deal was on the table (Laporta’s initial brainstorming with China regarding the Olympics?). That was at Fc Barcelona. Now we are dealing with Fc roSELL.

  7. OSBAG
    December 10, 2010

    I honestly dont see any thing wrong here. we shouldnt let pride stop us from solving our problems. All or most ‘not to’ reasons above can still be solved by d nature of this Qatari organisation. The only problem we might have here is the future sponsors, would future administrations uphold the dignity of the club?

    • OSBAG
      December 10, 2010

      Besides there wouldnt be a better time than this. We are in the form of our lives and so worth alot. People should not see this as ‘buying us’ as ramzi claims its a matter of whst makes sense. I trust the board would leave a space for unicef.

      • December 10, 2010

        “its a matter of whst makes sense.”

        Well…this deal doesn’t make any sense neither from the business perspective not from the strategic point of view. We just gave up the last bullet we could have used when things turn really bad. And we are not there now. I have to stress on that.

        “I trust the board would leave a space for unicef.”

        They will. And that will be so generous of them!!

        • Rohanv
          December 10, 2010

          I agree with you in that it’s an ideological question, not one of whom we’re putting on there (although, if we’re putting anyone, QF is easier for me to swallow).

          That said, I don’t understand what you mean by it being the ‘last bullet we could have used when things turn really bad.’ What if this is the deal that can stop things from getting to that position? We might not be there now, but you don’t ever want to be in a no-choice situation. Better to debate these things when you still have options, right? Or am I not understanding your point.

          • December 10, 2010

            If we take Rosell words seriously -and I dont- directly after they structured the first budget he said:

            “We have 50 M in the transfer budget, and we will be able to have 50 M every year in the following 3 years. PLUS the transfer return we receive from selling players”

            Get your calculator. Is this a club that desperately need 166 M? Even with all the noise the current board made.

            Secondly, we were in the deep well in 2003. Not only we had HUGE debt, the club marketing value was close to Zero. At the moment, the debt is not as challenging (even based on Rosell’s acrobatic accounting), and the club’s marketing value (and return) is one of the best in the world.

            If we were able to come from 2003, re-engineer the squad and do well till now. We can do that again.

            The thing about “No sponsor” on the shirt is that the more it survive the higher the first sponsor deal become. We wasted it for around 4 Millions/annually more than last sponsorship deal signed by Liverpool (30 Millions/year).

          • Rohanv
            December 10, 2010

            Alright, that makes sense. So then why do you think he’s doing it? Just taking the easy way out of the budget hole?

  8. K(legit)
    December 10, 2010

    Time for another ‘open letter’ eh Sandro?

  9. BA
    December 10, 2010

    those defending this disgrace should consider the logic of their support. if the end-all be-all is our budget, and if we’re as deep in the hole of debt as Rosell has trumpeted (probably falsely, but let’s assume for the sake of argument it’s true), why not just sell the rights to renaming the Camp Nou?

    i’d wager Dubai Stadium of Barcelona would put us in the Green for profit for this quarter, so why not? if we’re already throwing principle out the window in exchange for “practical business opportunities”, why shouldn’t we? let’s sell the front of our shirt, the naming rights to the stadium, and hey La Masia is sitting on some pretty valuable property so let’s sell that off as well. it’s all about that profit, right?

    • K(legit)
      December 10, 2010

      And while we are at it lets rename La Masia about La Microsoftia?

      That is absurd yes but in the current light who know what Mr. Rossel will do

  10. Kxevin
    December 10, 2010

    Done deal. Javier Faus, head of the economic side, says the whoring was necessary “for financial reasons.” It will only be a matter of time before Rosell blames Laporta for this, as well.

    On the up side, Rosell has helped my finances, in saving me the money I spend every year on shirts (home, away, third, in short and long-sleeve). I suppose I should appreciate that.

    I’m up for the BWin Camp Nou. It has a nice ring to it.

    • December 10, 2010

      Is anyone of Al Capone family still in business?

      Al Caponou will also be nice.

    December 10, 2010

    Wow!This is fast!Let.s take the 165m and in 6 years the new board will stop this.

    • Clue(less)
      December 10, 2010

      thought you were a big Rosell guy?

  12. jordi(TM)
    December 10, 2010


    Why wasnt there a referendum? Decisions like this always went to the asssembly.sigh* December 10, Barca finally becomes “just another club”

  13. jordi(TM)
    December 10, 2010

    BTW, 30 million is nothing, if we sell out,atleast sell out , for you know, something makes an actual splash in our budget.Its not like we are getting an extra 90 million a year. I await more farcical “we iz poor” narrative 🙁

  14. Lev
    December 10, 2010

    horrible. horrible. horrible. horrible. today is my last day of work before my vacations and i just feel horrible.

    i actually was against putting UNICEF on our shirt. Why? Cause our shirt was sacred!!! Ok, so I don’t mind UNICEF that much because it is UNICEF and we are paying them. But I remember it being said that it was just a ploy to soften the blow of a real sponsor one day.

    We don’t need the money. I don’t care if we don’t win trophies the next 10 years. Been there before. Our club was bigger than that. No sponsor on our shirt was part of the reason why our club was bigger than that.

    We put a sponsor on our shirt now, we will never be able to clean our shirt again – we will never be able to give up the extra revenue that it will generate.

    If the financial situation is that bad, sell a player. Or better yet, don’t buy any players next summer. Problem solved (you see, it doesn’t take a genius).

    I will still support Barça until I die, but if they make this deal they should remove the “mes que un club” slogan. Bury it somewhere.

    And I’m sorry for the linguistic cleansing that has been going on in this here lovely blog, but fuck Rosell. If he has any decency, let the socis vote on this. This decision should not be his to make.

    • OSBAG
      December 10, 2010

      What kind of talk is this ‘sell a player or dont buy one next season’ when we are complaning of inadequate squad depth. This is a (not the) perfect solution at hand that only affects our ego. Come on we should all get off our high horses.

      • December 10, 2010

        “Come on we should all get off our high horses.”

        I dont know about you, but I will not go down as the swamp is too stinky.

        • OSBAG
          December 10, 2010

          Lol very funny. Thats what we should do laugh over this and move on. Qatari, american or indian foundation we would keep on winning.

  15. December 10, 2010

    It is only getting better boys…

    Faus (economic vice-president): “The deal with Qatar Foundation includes a friendly game every year. In Qatar or in a European city.” Barcastuff

    I will start contacting my connections in Qatar. May be they can bring Barcelona to Karlshamn next summer. We have a nice 7 sided field near my house. Better than the bigger stadium thats 15 minutes far.

    He is not Rosell anymore. He is reSELL

  16. December 10, 2010

    I was waiting too long to get myself the first ever jersey and now look at this…..

    Luckily I found a 09/10 stunning looking victor valdes kit from a UK site….

    but unluckily, from now on our shirts will now have another foundation besides unicef… I will continue to hate Rosell no matter how well the team is doing.

  17. Humphrey Bogart
    December 10, 2010

    I can not believe that we are whoring ourselves like that. I was never one for conspiration theories. But this stinks. Rossell and his junta has backed us in a corner and makes it seem that it is evitable to take that deal. You could get the impression that it is his only goal to destroy our beloved club.

    And covering it up because it is a non-profit organization. but one which is financed by the Quatar state. What do we know about this state?

    Can somebody explain to me what is their stance

    on democracy
    freedom of the press and freedom of opinion
    right of women and gay people?

    • Lev
      December 10, 2010

      As far as freedom of the press goes, Al Jazheera has been a lot more honest in their covering of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars then U.S. media, having reported from the field as opposed to embedded and taking “official sources” for granted.

      Other than that I don’t give a hoot if it is a non-profit organization or not. Our shirt is supposed to be sacred. Putting UNICEF on there was grating, but at least we could take pride in the fact that we were not SELLING the shirt, but paying a foundation that helps children throughout the world. What we are doing now is basically promoting Qatar. Governments are corrupt per definition.

      I am not an economics professor, but I dare say there were other solutions to the problems created by our debt. We are a huge club with valuable assets and a huge income.

      Rosell could have said that we don’t have any transfer budget for the duration of his term because of the debts created by Laporta and I would be less upset than I am now.

    • December 10, 2010

      On democracy: I get an impression that the majority of the population there support the current system/ruler. If democracy is to have in power people whom the majority choose, then they are alright. If it means to copy the exact systems we have elsewhere, then it is not.

      Freedom of the press and freedom of opinion: Same as everywhere. There are things you can say. There are things that you cant.

      right of women and gay people: Laws need major improvement. In practice it is within the cultural boundaries governing men and straight people of a conservative society.

      Thats in brief. Though this has nothing to do with Barca’s decision to gift the club’s soul, whether to devils or angels.

  18. Gav
    December 10, 2010

    So Rosell has bent Barca over to be f**ked by arab gas money, he is a pimp & barca his whore…leaves me feeling dirty…such a terrible shame…the shirt was pure.

  19. OSBAG
    December 10, 2010

    Actually i have seen a tentative design via barca stuff and it looks a bit ugly

    • K(legit)
      December 10, 2010

      it looks Fugly..what’s with the tree?

  20. Goo
    December 10, 2010

    First the membership, and now this.

    Some people ask what’s the big deal, considering that the sponsor is a non-profit organization supporting a good cause. It’s not bwin or something like it, but that’s missing the point entirely. Barca is not for sale. Cules have been proud of that fact for a long time. Rosell is sacrificing the underlying philosophy of the club – mes – to have mes diners to address our financial woes. It’s not worth it.

    What sucks is that it’s a done deal, and they didn’t bother to ask the socis. Rosell just sold Barca to some rich sheikh and no one could do anything about it.

  21. y2k156
    December 10, 2010

    Well, we are becoming just another club.

    I am happy that we still have great players and play good football.

    Overall though, this is not a smart move. Barca has lot of fans from across the world. And the reason for fans like me is that they stand for something and have great players. Which was more than most other great clubs. Apparantly Barca board now wants to take away that standing for something. So that means it will only be club of great players just like others. As i do not stay in Barca or a catalan, it will reduce my loyalty to the club. Which is a pity!

  22. y2k156
    December 10, 2010

    Maybe the question to ask is how much did Rosell profit from this. I am pretty sure that this deal is not for club. He could have easily spent bit less on transfers in year or two to make for any shortfall. And that would have made most of fans quite happy too. It has to be something personal for him in there.

  23. soccermomof4
    December 10, 2010

    Have they considered the financial ramifications of angry cules not buying as many jerseys?

    Just told hubby this morning, “That Xavi jersey I wanted for Christmas, order it soon, because I don’t want next year’s.’

  24. mei
    December 10, 2010

    I only got one question.
    Wasnt there an assembly supposed to approve of this?
    And thanks rosell for killing my day.

  25. Clue(less)
    December 10, 2010

    Dude something is fishy…Pep taking that oil money from Qatar for his endorsement for 2022 WC, now we are hooking up with a seriously oppressive nation for shirt sponsorship? We better top the Liverpool/Man U shirt deals and pull in enough money to balance the books, and buy a world class player whenever we damn well please, without even blinking at the financial repercussions. And we should double our investment in La Masia, which is already the best youth academy in the world, this kind of money would may our youth setup unstoppable.

  26. mei
    December 10, 2010

    Also I would like to remind to everyone that back in 2004 there was an increasing rumor of us getting a sponsor on the shirt because of the financial situation of the club back then.
    Fans retaliated and laporta backed off.

  27. Barca fans (and Barca culture) is a very weird picture of having one’s cake and eating it, too. When it suits the constituency, Barca fans love to remind the world that “football is business” and therefore whatever they do is fair because it’s just business. after all. But then simultaneously the club must be more than a club, and the fans really need to believe in their club as an altruistic being–they’ve based (justified?) at least part of their fandom on it. This is one of those moments of cognitive disconnect for the fans, and it’s interesting to watch as an outsider.

    Also, does anyone here think Pep being one of the celebrity endorsers of the Qatar World Cup bid is in any way related to this new development? And if so how will this impact the “més que un club”-ness?

    • mei
      December 10, 2010

      Some examples of your (“clear eyed – full heart insights”) would be nice.
      Oh and keep in mind that , above all the other reasons , the no main sponsor on the shirt ,is a proud tradition shared amongst barcelona fans.

    • Lev
      December 10, 2010

      Thank you for your post, it is good to have an outsiders point of view.

      The UNICEF thing, like clueless reminded us of, was a source of pride. However more than believing in our club as an altruistic being what we always took a lot of pride in was the fact that our shirt was not for sale. Not for altruistic reasons, but for a matter of principle. The fact that our shirt was not for sale was representative of the pride we took in F.C. Barcelona. That pride has just been shattered, and this is why we are upset.

    • December 10, 2010

      “it’s just business”

      No barca fan claim the club is just a business. There is a business part mixed with dominant none business part.

      “This is one of those moments of cognitive disconnect for the fans, and it’s interesting to watch as an outsider.”

      Nah…This is one of the moments that show why some people are outsiders. Simply because they are disconnected from the club environment. or else, they would have became “insiders”

      Regarding Pep: He played in Qatar and has lot of connections and friends there. He is also highly appreciated there. Thats why picking him was no surprise. It has nothing to do with this deal (They choosed him before Rosell became president). In fact, I can guarantee that Pep is angry after knowing the deal. If it is not because the sponsorship thing at least he is not happy with the friendly-per-year condition in the agreement.

      So, as an outsider, get your facts straight. Then share your wisdom with the insiders.

      • mei
        December 10, 2010

        A huge part in this is the fact that traditions are passed upon and shared amongst the people that endorse them.
        It doesnt make sense to the outsiders(nor should it) other than the knowledge that woah , they followed this line for an x period of time and now they stopped.
        You cant appreciate what you never had , and giving up a proud tradition will never be accepted happily for whatever reasons.

    • Jose
      December 10, 2010

      “When it suits the constituency, Barca fans love to remind the world that “football is business” and therefore whatever they do is fair because it’s just business.”

      Barcelona has traditions and principles which it stands for. That is one of the big reasons it gathers so many fans. Unfortunately for Sevilla, these principles don’t include plain giving money and/or players to its club competitors. I know that has been a very sore point for you and has led you to doubt whether Barca is a special club, but I hope you’ll get over it one day.

      You know, instead of snickering in your own blog about how we here at BFB “didn’t take kindly to the truth”.


  28. Clue(less)
    December 10, 2010

    Just read €33m a tear huh…. I hope Rosell knows what he is doing. I have never been a supporter of the man, he reminds me of a John Boehner type, a hard core fiscal conservative type with no flair or personality, so worried about imaginary bottom line and blaming previous administrations for everything. Like the 75 or so frequent posters here I consider myself a Cule, and, as Kevin says so eloquently from time to time, the Unicef thing is a true sense of pride, something we can all fall back on as supporters, when arguing our club as ‘more than a club’. I don’t want to over react, but at this moment I am shocked and sad. Even if the money will help us become even more dominate on the pitch (increased transfer kitty).

    • mei
      December 10, 2010

      Rosell knows exactly what he’s doing and thats exactly the problem.

    • K(legit)
      December 10, 2010

      Hey if it was a 100 mill a year it’d have been a cause for debate..33 mill a year is with all due respect pocket change in today’s world of transfers, revenues, budgets, etc.
      I wonder how much our beloved Presi has in his own personal kitty from this?
      If we thought Txiki and his Traffic ‘dealings’ were shady, this Rossel-Qatar is so much more darker

      • mei
        December 10, 2010

        Once again ,its not about the money.
        If it was a small amount wed be selling cheap, if it was abig bucks deal it would still be a sale .
        The amount of money offered would never make the fans happier about it.

  29. Lev
    December 10, 2010

    “Once again ,its not about the money”

    For the fans it is not.
    For them it is:

    According to Faus (economic vice-president), “with this agreement, the FC Barcelona brand is positioned as the undisputed leader in football, ahead of international competitors.”

    The FC Barcelona brand???? Are we making household appliances or something? wtf? Who are these people taking our club hostage?

    Also – now what do you guys think of the Ibra-Eto’o swap deal? Something that was so obviously moronic at the time is even more so in hindsight (at the time of Ibra’s horrible exit) and even MOOORE so in hind-hindsight (resorting to shirt-prostitution to cover debts).

    It is clear now that the reason Rosell and co. were bad-mouthing the Laporta years was not only to make Laporta look bad, but also to make way for selling our shirt.

  30. mei
    December 10, 2010

    I would leave the laporta vs rosell argument out of it.
    First of all , laporta is gone and rosell is the current president.
    Then , laporta was heavily rumored around 2004 to be trying to sell the shirt with the same reasoning .
    Fans opposed to this and after a brief period of time the unicef deal was made.

    • Lev
      December 10, 2010

      exactly. fans opposed and laporta respected us. Rosell made this deal through before giving the fans the opportunity to oppose. When our back was turned for just a second he bent us over and snuck the sponsor op our ____ .

  31. K(legit)
    December 10, 2010

    Did yo make this one?
    If you did due props man..nice work indeed


  32. mei
    December 10, 2010

    everyone that opposes to this motion could join this group in facebook :*
    not that i really believe in (social media)facebook activism but its something since our beloved club pays attention to how many followers the club’s facebook page gets.

  33. Clue(less)
    December 10, 2010

    In response to one of Lev’s earlier comments (I think)

    That’s where you may be wrong, basic supply and demand and market theory states that when the best financial gain is possible, produce more of a product. If there ever was a time to whore ourselves out, now is the time. People are saying we are the best team (club or country) that has ever graced patch of grass, and for our first shirt sponsorship deal to be the richest in football history plays right into the idea that it’s a ‘now or never’ type situation, and who here really thought that Sandro would make the morally right decision and reject any advances. In fact, I would not put it past this administration to have made the initial contact, or at least sent out feelers about this. Again, Pep’s Qatar support has something to do with this, I would guess that it has been in the works for some time and Qatar getting the 2022 WC sealed the deal. This tiny ass country, the size of my apartment will need every day they can get over the next 12 years to make their WC look like a reasonable choice, and what better way to gain automatic respect than throwing money at a situation. Which from what I have read, they have a few bucks to burn. Don’t be surprised if Sandro tries to cover his Douchey ass by doubling our donation to UNICEF, or throwing their name all over the Camp as his own little, “I’m really sorry to hit and run UNICEF, now bow your little head and take the walk of shame back to obscurity, daddy found himself a pot o’ gold!!!!!” Or something along those lines. And just in case my post was not clear enough, I don’t like this at all. And I agree with Kevin’s sentiments, no 2011 kit for me, I guess I will be buying myself a 2010 one for XMAS.

    • soccermomof4
      December 10, 2010

      Just( as in less than an hour ago) ordered a 2010 Xavi, myself.
      No 2011 jersey for me—but I will still LOVE MY TEAM.

      Oh well, life sucks then you die. 🙁

  34. Nick
    December 10, 2010

    Guess no referendum was held precisely because soci views are shared with those presented here. The board are bloody muppets.

  35. Clue(less)
    December 10, 2010

    What we are seeing right now is nothing more than Sandro spending a big portion of his vast political capital. Remember if this would have been a U.S presidential election, he would have won by a fucking mandate, which still baffles me. For all the Sandro haters (count me in), this may be a good thing, as the backlash may be tremendous. It will surly be a point of emphasis in future elections, when other candidates are attacking his platform, putting him on the defensive, something he did not have to do as he was the only real contender in the last election. Just remember how insanely popular this tool is in Barcelona, so there wont be any no confidence votes or anything, regardless of how Gestapo esque this seems to be!!! But some Cule’s are gonna be pissed fosho’

  36. majatt
    December 10, 2010

    My reservation is simple, how and why could a non-profit organization splash 30M a year? What do they gain from the exposure? More donations? They can’t be willing to put out 30M a year and still expect donations surely.

    • mei
      December 10, 2010

      Thats not the problem.
      Barca as a brand is huge right now , and donations heading to qatar overall activities will skyrocket in the following years as a result of having won the world cup bid.
      So in theory this would boost their image, but why the hell would we wanna contribute to that , and if so why would we abandon our tradition for it!

    • Rohanv
      December 10, 2010

      Not going to sugarcoat it; like I said above this is as much about Qatar, and the ruling family’s, legacy as it is about QF. Their aims are essentially patronage of the arts, sports, education and their stewardship for struggling Middle East/North African countries (as well as crisis-hit bits of the world), and they’d like recognition of this.

      Allying themselves with a brand and an ideology like Barcelona’s can only help in this regard. It’s not a bad, or sinister thing, but it is the benign option that helped strike down a 111-year old tradition.

      But that’s just my view. I’m sure we’ll have Sheikha Mozah or someone else from QF tell us about their side of the deal at the press-con tomorrow.

      • majatt
        December 10, 2010

        Too much political context, if they had to sell out the shirt I’d prefer if it had been strictly business.

        • Rohanv
          December 10, 2010

          Well the political context is on Qatar Foundation’s side, but that’s just deeper background. As it stands, and as far as the sponsorship goes, it’s a nonprofit trying to broaden their image and recognition.

          I would much rather have Qatar Foundation on there than ‘bwin.’ Any day.

    • majatt
      December 10, 2010

      I’m also done buying the shirts, they are expensive but they represent the club and I feel less guilty about wearing a brand because it is UNICEF.

  37. Humphrey Bogart
    December 10, 2010

    I really can not understand what is happening here. Firstly I scarely made it to become a soci (get my appointment in september), thanks god for that and now everything is falling to pieces thanks to this guy. If we would not be that successful in the sport department we would be the laughing stock now in Europe, whoring ourselves and selling 111 years of history, tradition and pride in one instant.

    La Masia: priceless

    El Clasico 5:0: priceless

    Ballon d’blaugrana: priceless

    Our pride and soul: 35 Mio. a year

  38. K(legit)
    December 10, 2010

    a non-profit organisation that can part with 30 mill a year for a football club..yeah that sounds right

  39. Helge
    December 10, 2010

    I never understood why the heck Pep Guardiola has supported the Qatar 2022 bid. Now I do…

    As Euler pointed out, this is not a perfect world and it was indeed inevitable. Even Athletic Bilbao does have a shirt sponsorship since… 2 years? At least I remember that some years ago, they didn’t wear a sponsorship on their shirts, and they never did before (afaik). Do you think that the Basque have less pride, less desire to be an autonomous country than the Catalans? I doubt it.
    This is the golden moment to sell a sponsorship, and at least they’ve found a non-profit organization that gives us a record revenue. I think if you have come to the conclusion that a shirt sponsorship is necessary, the club made the most of it. Athletic Bilbao has a local sponsor, but it is a petro-chemical company.
    Some people say “It’s only 33m, that’s nothing compared to our total revenue”. I don’t think 33m is a low amount of money. Could we have saved 33m instead? Would Messi, Iniesta and Xavi accept 3m less in salary? Puyol, Dani Alves and whoever comes then on the salary list 2m less?
    They always claim that they belong to Barca, but would they still do so without the exorbitant high wages they are being paid?
    Money rules the world, and it also rules Barca. And the reign of money at Barcelona has not started with Rosell, it has been here for years, maybe even decades.
    If you want to have the best players at Barca, it was a question of time until the club couldn’t deny such offers anylonger (and once again, this is the perfect time and the best possible offer, if you combine financial and philosophic aspects). That is my opinion. I don’t say that I’m a huge fan of it, but from an economic, realistic point of view, I don’t see how we could have continued without losing a lot of quality on the long-term. We’re in massive debts, we spend 100 of Mio on player’s wages, how shall we know whether the club could be bancrupt in 2 years? Would you sell Messi to City for 166m instead of accepting this deal?

    • majatt
      December 10, 2010

      As stated earlier, we have an annual transfer budget of 50M + player sales.

      If we are wise we can get players like Afellay cheap vs splashing on wastes like Zlatan and Villa…yes..I just called Villa waste of money. He is almost as old as Eto’o who could have continued his goal banging at a far lower cost than the 40M for zlatan and then 40M for Villa.

      Suffice to say that with the squad we have 50m a transfer window seems lavish for a club that should sell tradition for 30M a year.

      • Victor
        December 10, 2010

        Too early to tell if Villa was a waste of money. Same with Zlatan, but since he’s already out…

        Eto’o would have glady continued playing at Barcelona, but I do think that he would also asked for a higher salary.

      • Helge
        December 10, 2010

        I don’t believe this 50m + player sales statement.

        If we are in high debts, how could that make any sense?!? If it was true, then certainly reducing it to 20m per year would be the solution. Because la Masia brings up enough talents, promoting two Cantera players per year and spending 20m for one new player should be enough to conserve our current level of quality.

    • Victor
      December 10, 2010

      Yup, reducing salaries is another option, but then the question arises… how can ask Messi, Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta, Alves, etc… to accept a reduction in their salary after the great job they do?

      Selling a player is another option… but who would you sell?

      • mei
        December 10, 2010

        Sell messi, xavi , iniesta whatever.
        Players get old , transfered , fall out with the club.
        Shirt is permanent.

  40. Victor
    December 10, 2010

    Better to sell a player to attend the financial issues than this.

  41. HY
    December 10, 2010

    Better to treat world-class homegrown players as commodities to solve our financial woes than to put a logo on a shirt? Sorry, I find this type of argument lopsided. I hate this decision as well, but to me, though the shirt is symbolic, it’s not bigger than the person who play in it.

  42. mei
    December 10, 2010

    I will take the shirt over a player argument.(although its obviously implied that this is the edge of the rope, if all the other financial possibilities that would boost the economic state of the club are depleted).
    I would still sell a player instead of selling the shirt.
    Players are commodities. They have buyout clauses , a salary and are awarded bonuses according to their performances and the standards of it.
    Shirt never was. Until now.

    • HY
      December 10, 2010

      As far as I’m concerned, if people can be treated as commodities, then everything else is fair game. To a fan like me, nothing represents the values and philosophy of this club more than players the likes of Xavi, Messi, and Iniesta.

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