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Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Friday, 10 December 2010

Barcelona & Qatar Foundation agree 125m shirt deal

Barcelona star Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is among the stars currently wearing the Barcelona shirt

Barcelona have ended their long term stance of refusing commercial shirt sponsorship by signing a record £125m deal with the Qatar Foundation.

The Catalan giants have paid to carry the Unicef logo for the last five years and the children's charity will share shirt space with the new sponsors.

Barcelona have a sizeable debt but now claim to be "the undisputed brand leader in world football".

The deal will be worth £25m a year from next season through until 2016.

In July, an audit revealed Barcelona's debt to be £369.5m after a loss of more than £64.36m in the 2009/10 season.

The new sponsorship arrangement could free up some transfer funds for coach Pep Guardiola - who worked as an ambassador for Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

The Qatar Foundation is a non-profit organisation concerned primarily with education projects in the Middle East.

It is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, the wife of the Emir, who was central to Qatar's final World Cup bid last week.

Senior club executives said the deal was a "remarkable milestone because it represents a record level of revenue for a football club and has more value still in the current economic climate".

Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid each earn about £20m a year for their rights, while Bayern Munich make closer to £23m.

Marketing experts will seek to find a way for both logos to be displayed on the Barcelona shirts, although if that is not possible the Qatar Foundation will take priority.

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see also
Russia & Qatar to host World Cups
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Extent of Barcelona debt revealed
27 Jul 10 |  Europe
Barcelona fail to pay squad wages
07 Jul 10 |  Europe
Barca announce Unicef shirt deal
06 Sep 06 |  Europe

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