European Soccer

Morning Ticker: Barcelona signs sponsor, Manchester United gets boost and more

Barcelona (Getty)


For the first time in Barcelona's history, the Catalan club's jerseys will bear a sponsor on its front.

Putting an end to 111 years without a sponsor, Barca announced an agreement with the Qatar Foundation in a deal valued at £125 million. Barcelona has previously paid to bear the logo of UNICEF in recent seasons, and will keep that logo as well.

The agreement is for five years, and is scheduled to run through 2016 — Barceolina will receive £25 million per year. The non-profit foundation promotes education in the Middle East, and is chaired by Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, the wife of the Qatari Emir who played a role in bringing the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Here are a few other stories for Friday:


Ahead of their big game on Monday against Arsenal, Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that the trio of Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Patrice Evra should be fit to face the London club. Ferdinand had to be substituted against Valencia during this week's Champions League group match, a game that Scholes and Evra both missed out on. Manchester United are one point behind Arsenal in the English Premier League, with a game in hand.


Despite the club's poor performance on the field, season tickets in Toronto continue to be a rousing success. Toronto FC announced Friday that the allotment for 2011 season tickets had sold out, with partial ticket packages still available for next season. There had been some controversy surrounding ticket prices earlier in the year, after another price rise.


With star striker Gonzalo Higuain set to miss out 2 months with a hernia injury, Real Madrid is lining up possible replacements for the Argentine. That list includes Sunderland and Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan, who moved from French club Rennes to Sunderland prior to the 2010-11 season for £13 million.


Tottenham midfielder Rafa van der Vaart won't be available for Sunday's match against Chelsea, the club revealed Friday. Since moving to the North London club from Real Madrid, van der Vaart has played well, but has battled through a variety of niggling injuries. The Dutch star is recovering from a hamstring injury.


What do you think about Barcelona's jersey deal?

  • Jake F.

    Ug. I’m a Barca fan and even though I know they are in debt, I always was gald they didn’t put a sponsor on their shirts. But I guess money talks, especially when that money is coming from Qatar.


  • Newcastle

    A “nonprofit” is paying 25 mil/year for a shirt sponsorship? What a joke. Qatar is so corrupt it’s disgusting.


  • wally

    It is interesting. Maybe the thought is that he’d hold the ball up for Madrid’s crazy talented wingers and add a little more defensive bite to Madrid’s line. With his mobility and strength, I could see him fitting in, but a prolific goal scorer Gyan is not.


  • Rory

    It’s nice that donations given to the group to promote education in the middle east will go towards helping a team in Spain beat their debt issues.

    Now what was that about the Spain and Qatar bids working together illegally to win the world cup bids?


  • Brad

    Well this is as close to being part of world class soccer as Qatar will ever get.

    Cant help but see this as a propaganda like move…..


  • Rory

    It’s not corrupt, it’s just stupid. They’re cash-rich and they are spending like mad to boost tourism before their only major assets dry up/are no longer commercially desirable.

    UAE did this for years… and then their entire economy almost collapsed earlier this year.


  • john.q

    they should take that 25mil a year and pour it into their non-profit charity, not a football team. the mention of qatar nowadays makes me want to throw up.


  • Oyeoro

    You are kidding if you don’t think Gyan will be a prolific scorer in La Liga for several reasons:

    1. His Stats – the guy has check off every possible catergory for a marquee forward at sunderland; including chipping assists as a loan forward. Don’t forget that alot of his performances came as a sub with less than 35 minutes to make an impact in the match.

    2. His Desire – Mugging defenders, the guys plays pressure defense as a forward. Watch him press defenders for the ball and win it against the Chelski(yes, they had injuries) and Man U.

    3. Service – as stated above, Gyan is nasty at Sunderland. Now surround him with players the caliber of C. Ronaldo, Ozuil (sp?), Kaka, Di Maria. His potential would be ridiculous.

    4. Price – Real Madrid would get him for roughly $12-15 mm before he blows up.


  • MensreaJim

    So a government pays a ton of money in order for an unprofitable corporation to be on a huge club’s shirt?

    So 2008.


  • DC Josh

    I have a feeling that this will not be the last time we hear of a Qatari-based organization sponsoring world football related organizations. Qatar will attempt to make themselves appear to love football, when all they care about is $$$$$$$$$, which they will get none of from me.

    Also, I don’t see the value in Gyan. He is a good striker, but not a player who could break into the Madrid squad. Maybe I am blind from hatred for what he did to us in the World Cup. I just do not think he is that great of a player. His ego could certainly break into the Madrid squad. His skill? Not so much.


  • DC Josh

    I have never understood “Non-profits”. The big ones are run by millionaires. Why not just call it a business?


  • fischy

    I think we’re seeing at least part of the quo of the quid pro quo involved there. Maybe it had nothing at all to do with supporting Spain’s bid, and everything to do with this promise to sponsor Barca.


  • BenH

    Real need Chicharito! Yesssssss. Hala Madrid! Honestly while not thrilled with Gyan he would be an upgrade to Benzema. Blech.

    And this Qatar bit is yet another reason for Barcelona hate.


  • fischy

    Ooops. Silly me. I’ve forgotten the British slang for their money.

    The £125 million? That’s definitely the “quid”, not the “quo.”


  • Union

    could be a good fit, but Real will be forced to overpay. 12-15M when sunderland paid 13M for him…real is looking at 16-20M easily or cash and a player. sunderland could lose wellbeck back to man utd and im sure they want to keep gyan


  • John

    Real need Falcao. Coming from Porto, Mourinho could make this happen easily. Rossi would also be great but more expensive.


  • Erik

    Right on Josh… Taxes are the only reason.

    You would think the 25 mil a year could actually help educate people instead of telling people hat they educate people.


  • YO

    I predict and this is just a wild guess, Qatar money is going to start showing up in about 14 countries or so. what a joke!


  • Tim

    Sunderland just paid 13 million pounds. Why would they sell him for less or roughly the same amount to Real Madrid. And he probably should continue his good form throughout the whole season before you act like he is one of the best strikers in the world.
    In reality he isn’t good enough to get in the Real Madrid squad when Higuain is fit. He is a great player, but you also have to factor in the different styles of play. There is no sure thing that he would adapt perfectly to the more technical game in La Liga. Benzema was much better than him in Ligue 1, but he isn’t exactly lighting La Liga up.


  • northzax

    so, best part of the shirt deal? it won’t affect the UNICEF deal- so for 25 million a year, the ‘foundation’ doesn’t even get top billing.


  • KenC

    In theory, a good non-profit spends 90+% of its donations on charitable work, and less than 10% on expenses of running the charity. In this case, if that 25M pounds represented 10%, which it doesn’t, because they still must pay salaries, admin costs, etc., then they need to be getting 250M pounds in donations a year, in order to be considered a well-managed charity. What makes me think that isn’t the case? Using a tax dodge to fund bribes is certainly creative finance. Of course, the top Spanish clubs, Real and Barcelona have had plenty of experience with creative finance these last few years.


  • bryan

    as long as madrid dont go out and spend a bunch. we have benzema and he is finally starting to come into form. but with or without higuain injured, we need another striker. either go with a veteran like milito, who will be ok sitting on the bench once higuain is fit, but can fill in well. or, go with another younger player who will get a chance to have an immediate impact.


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