Cruyff slams Barca for Qatar sponsorship

AFP, Wednesday 15 Dec 2010

Former Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff on Wednesday slammed the Catalan giants for agreeing a record shirt sponsorship deal worth 30 million euros per season with the Qatar Foundation

Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff thinks Barcelona had become "just another club"

The deal is the biggest ever in the history of strip sponsorship in football worth 165 million euros until 2016 but the former Dutch superstar believes that it goes against the history of the club’s fabled strip.

Cruyff said that by signing the deal, Barcelona whose slogan is "mes que un club" (more than a club) had become "just another club."

"Socially we've made a bad deal," said Cruyff, who is currently coach of the Catalan national team. "There are other solutions rather than sullying the jersey."

Barca will place the Qatar Foundation on their shirts alongside the existing logo for UN children's agency UNICEF, which they have sported for the five years while forgoing the riches of commercial sponsors.

Qatar, the tiny energy-rich Gulf Arab country, was picked by FIFA on December 2 to host the 2022 World Cup and Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola - who played for Qatari outfit Al-Ahli towards the end of his career - acted as one of their ambassadors during the bidding process.

The Qatar Foundation was set up in 1995 by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, to foster education, scientific research and community development in Qatar, the Middle East and beyond.

Despite success on the field, Barcelona are struggling financially.

The club posted a loss of 79.6 million euros last season -- their first in seven years -- and they have debts of 442 million euros.

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