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  • Mitre June 17

Barcelona new signing breaks the trend.

Sponsorship deals from Middle East companies are changing the dynamics of European club football.

Barcelona have in the past steered away from a sponsor's name on their jerseys, but the £26 million a year they will receive from the Qatar Foundation over the next five years will help pay some of the transfer fee of £35 million to Udinese for Alexis Sanchez.

Sanchez, the attacking midfielder from the Italian side is the first Barca signing to carry the new sponsor, the Qatar Foundation, on his jersey.

The trend though was set when Harrod's Egyptian entrepreneur, Mohammed Al Fayed, bought Fulham in 1997 but the largest revolution was in 2008 when the Abu Dhabi United Group bought Manchester City and launched a spending spree that resulted in the Blues coming third last season in the Premier League and qualifying for the Champions League.

Arsenal jumped on the bandwagon when they sold the naming right to the new stadium to Emirates Airline who recently announced a five-year sponsorship deal with Real Madrid.

Top clubs will continue to raise the bar in the need to bring in the best players in the world and it will lie with FIFA on fair play rules to decide if the magnatude of the current deals pass stringent guidelines.

George Moss

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