In 2006, FC Barcelona kicked off a global partnership with UNICEF in order to help children affected by HIV/AIDS in the developing world. For the first time in the club 107 year history, the 06-07 Barca shirt unveiled the UNICEF logo on the front. In addition, Barca agreed to donate €1.5 million per year to UNICEF over the next 5 years to support UNICEF programmes for children.
A “never been done before” partnership which outlines that FC Barcelona is indeed Mes que un club. Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director, said back then that “This partnership joining UNICEF and the Barcelona Futbol Club will help push open a door of hope to thousands of children. Barcelona shows us that sports can be a powerful, positive force for children.”
Barca President Mr Joan Laporta echoed his UNICEF counterpart by saying “At FC Barcelona, we are aware of the global dimension of soccer. The increasing number of FC Barcelona supporters and fans around the world in the last few years has been spectacular. The club has an obligation to respond to this enormous positive wave. The best way to do so is by using soccer as a tool to bring hope to millions of vulnerable children in need around the world”.
During the first year of the agreement children affected by AIDS in Swaziland will benefit from this partnership. Swaziland is working hard to stop AIDS, but faces enormous obstacles. The country is estimated to have the highest estimated adult HIV prevalence rate in the world. In 2004, 43% of women seen at antenatal clinics tested positive for HIV. But just under 12 per cent of HIV positive pregnant women are receiving the drugs necessary to protect their newborns from contracting the virus. [Source: Unicef]
You did the math. In 2011, the UNICEF partnership might come to an end. Barcelona is considering sharing UNICEF shirt space with Qatar Foundation. A deal up to €150 million with Qatar NGO was agreed upon, which will make the Barca shirt the most expensive shirt deal in modern football.
Economic factors lead the club to this decision. Indeed, the club has also been hit by economic merky waters as it is coming off a season when lost €77 million. Barcelona will receive €30 million per season from 2011-12 from the nonprofit organization and both logo should be featured on the Barca shirt.
The Catalan stressed that the agreement with Qatar Foundation does not put an end to the UNICEF partnership, although the 5 year deal will expire end of 2011. Barcelona financial vice president Javier Faus said “the team would renew its deal with UNICEF, for which it has contributed €1.5 million annually for humanitarian projects”.
From UNICEF to Qatar Foundation, FC Barcelona takes a significant step in terms of sponsorship revenue. The club’s philanthropic history is one thing, but economic woes are, at the end of the day, showing the way to go.