Coming not so long after its shock World Cup 2022 bid victory, Qatar makes the news again in football, this time with Barcelona. Qatari domestic development non-profit Qatar Foundation signed a sponsorship deal with Barcelona, to the tune of US$200 million for 5 years, the richest football shirt sponsorship ever. The fact this comes so soon after Barca coach Pep Guardiola helped promote Qatar’s World Cup bid allows for our imaginations to run wild about oil money extravagance and the merits of Qatar’s bid outside of its oil riches (almost nil). This comes as a godsend for debt-ridden Barcelona, but it’s sad that 111 years of a tradition of carrying no corporate logos on its uniforms comes to an end (the club’s UNICEF logo will remain intact though). Anyways the blogger makes 2 good points – if the foundation is a domestic organization, then what’s the point of advertising in a foreign country, and also, wouldn’t it be to put all that money to better use instead of sponsoring a football team. It obviously couldn’t be as a reward to the club for its coach helping promote the country’s World Cup bid, right. Of course not. Guardiola was one of several famous non-Qataris, Zinedine Zidane being another, who helped promote Qatar’s World Cup bid.
This article, well worth a read, describes the problems with Qatar as a host in great and clear detail. Going beyond sour grapes, the writer also ponders the problems with FIFA and the challenges of cleaning it up.