Barca Fans: The Butter, the Money for the Butter and the Dairyman’s Daughter

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Hi all,
Barcelona are caught between a very strange dilemma: Making fans happy and generate revenue. Is this ever compatible anyway? Barca fans are angry that their iconic home (and away) shirt is not only stained with a sponsor, but with the Qatar Foundation one. A double problem for Sandro Rosell to deal with.


 Barca president Sandro Rosell signed a deal with Qatar foundation last year. A deal for a period of five seasons, with the club receiving €30 (£26) million each year, starting on July 1, 2011 and running until June 30, 2016, plus bonuses for trophies won that could total €5 (£4.3)m.

During the 2010-11 campaign, the club also received a further €15 (£13)m for the concept of commercial rights, bringing the total of the deal to €170 (£150)m.

Dutch legend Johan Cruyff was not amused when Barcelona’s famous shirt had remained unblemished by sponsors in the club’s proud 110-year history. But Cruyff called the Qatar Foundation deal “vulgar”, while former president Joan Laporta said he would have preferred to have seen the shirts carry only the motif of Unicef, an image with “a message, a cause”.

And now, Barcelona fans have voiced their discontent, too, with thousands already having signed a petition in an attempt to see the agreement revoked, according to Goal.com.

“We, the undersigned fans of Futbol Club Barcelona, express our strong opposition to the decision about another logo on the jerseys of our football team. As fans, we have the utmost respect for our club and the board elected by the socis, but we cannot accept the shirt-sponsorship agreement with Qatar Sports Investment.”

For 111 years our commercial-free red-and-blue-striped tops have gained an iconic status worldwide and are one more reason to be a proud supporter of FC Barcelona. Our Club will lose something forever: its status as the only club in top-level football without a sponsor on their shirts.

We ask the board of directors of FC Barcelona to stop the implementation of the shirt-sponsorship agreement with the Qatar Sports Investment and any other commercial sponsor, and instead develop current deals or find other solutions that does not involve putting logos on the jerseys.”

Now, the agreement is being put to the vote in an Assembly on September 24, the report said.

“We believe the decisions we have made are the correct ones. But we have no problem in placing them under the judgement of the socios, because they are the owners of this club. Let’s hope they share our opinion.” Rosell told La Vanguardia in an interview on Sunday.

And if they don’t, the Barca president warned, the Catalan club may need to set more modest targets in future, adding that no other deal would bring in anywhere near the kind of funds raised by the Qatari investment.

He said: “If that’s what the socios want then fine. Barca would be sustainable but on a different dimension. We couldn’t carry on having everything we have currently: the best squad in the world, the best coach in the world, being the biggest multi-sport club in the world, the youth academy. Our rivals would have an advantage.”

When he speaks of the club’s rivals, of course, Rosell refers to Real Madrid. And the president hopes the very thought of losing ground to a side Barca fans love to hate, will be enough to swing the vote in his favour.

With debts of almost €400 (£350m) still remaining and an emergency €150 (£130)m loan from last year to be paid back as well, it is a vote he can ill afford to lose.

Barca’s marketing director, Laurent Colette, put the deal into perspective when he explained earlier this year: “The arrival of the Qatar Foundation on our shirts did not please the romantics but it was necessary. Without this sponsorship, we would have had to sell.”

Even with the first installments of the sponsorship money, Barca still struggled to raise this cash this summer for the signings of Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas. So in order to hang on to those players, keep the likes of Lionel Messi and carry on beating Madrid, they may just have to build their future on the Qatar Foundation.

Most Barca fans fail to identify with Qatar, nor its foundation, but as they cringe when they cast their eyes on the club’s famous shirt with a commercial logo on the front for the very first time, they would do well to remember that they have never had it so good.

The idea perhaps isn’t a romantic one, but seeing Pep, Leo, Xavi, Cesc et al lead the Catalan club to glory at home and abroad remains the essence and the ethos for this spectacular side, while the footballing philosophy is deep-rooted and won’t be changing either. [Source: Emirates 247].

My take:

Barca fans want the butter, the money for the butter AND the dairyman’s daughter. That’s a french proverb which means that “you want to have it all!”. I do find this proverb very suited to the way Barca fans (and not only them) think these days.

Come on! Without Qatar Foundation’s investment, I doubt Fabregas could have joined Barca, and, as Barca Chief Marketing Officer Laurent Colette said, Barca would have had to sell players. Would they have been able to keep Messi? Villa? Xavi? Iniesta? What if these players had to be sold to bring down the 400 million€ debt? What would Barca fans would have said then?

Qatar is elbowing its way in global football. With FC Barcelona, Paris St Germain, Malaga to name a few, football with have to count with Qatar in the game.

Now, fans need to know what they want and be consistent. To put it in a very simple way: You can’t be successful, win titles and be the best football team in the world with revenues coming from hamburgers and sausage sales in stadiums. It’s that simple.

Karl Lusbec

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5 thoughts on “Barca Fans: The Butter, the Money for the Butter and the Dairyman’s Daughter

    Siena said:
    September 6, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Strange for a charitable organisation to spend this amount of money to sponsor a rich football club like Barcelona. Interesting move however,using money previously designed to help the under-privileged, and instead now helping over-paid footballers be even more over-paid.

    I also see via cable news that the poor Catalunyan people like many world-wide have been demonstrating A Poster found on the walls of Barcelona few days after the riots

    “Last 29th of September we were thousands. Youngsters and adults, students, workers and unemployed, migrants and “locals”, meeting up in the street, empowering the picketers, facing the cops, attacking the symbols of Capital, of misery and luxury… Making our rage to be respected.
    Now, the same ones who generated this rage, the same ones who organise our daily anxiety, those who produce unemployment and labour exploitation, those who fill up the neighborhoods with raids and police abuse, those who military occupy other countries, torture and deport, are pointing on us and accusing ourselves of being “violent”.
    But we answer to this saying: “THE MOST VIOLENT ACT WAS GOING BACK TO NORMALITY”. It wasn’t the police attacks, nor the burning barricades, nor the shop lootings, nor the squatting of the bank… The hardest, most traumatic thing, was having to be back to the routinary submission after one day of revolt. Because for one day we stop putting our heads down in front of their abuse, we got united and demonstrated that together WE CAN, that if we move with strenght, the world they’ve built on our backs starts trembling.
    For one whole day we tasted the flavor of rebellion… AND NOW WE WANT MORE”.

    FC Barcelona…Charity begins at home!

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      Karl Lusbec responded:
      September 6, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      Hi Siena,
      Well, Qatar Foundation is an NGO, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have money, on the contrary they do. Therefore, they are free to invest in any global activity they feel like and obviously, FC Barcelona in on their agenda.

      I am not sure where you are going with the riots, police, torture etc. What does that have to do with Qatar Foundation sponsoring Barca?

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    Jeremy Melul (@jmelul) said:
    September 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Personally, after witnessing the inefficiencies of the bureaucratic machine that Unicef is, it wouldn’t be my first choice for donations. But knowing that an NGO is willing to divert EUR 170m from the programs or actual cause to end up on the shirt of FC Barca so that they can then buy Cesc on the cheap because there is no competition from other clubs… now that is a big FAIL to me.
    And yeah… what do the riots and all have to do with Quatar Foundation sponsorship?

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    Karl Lusbec responded:
    September 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Hi Jeremy,
    Great point here.
    I believe though that Qatar Foundation’s investment in Barcelona is a piece of the agenda of Qatar’s agenda in football, which is to become more and more prominent in international football. In addition, my take is that investing €170 m in one club is not a hurdle to their daily activities.

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    FC Barcelona and Qatar Foundation: A Done Deal « said:
    September 26, 2011 at 10:09 am

    […] disappointment of the partnership between the Catalan club and Qatar Foundation, as them (the fans) wanting the butter, the money for the butter and the dairyman’s daughter. The debate is now over. Indeed, the members have unanimously accepted the shirt sponsorship deal […]

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