Qatar Airways has no plans to follow in the footsteps of fellow carriers Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways and put its name to a British football club stadium, CEO Akbar Al Baker told Arabian Business.
Despite the Doha-based carrier is set to have its logo placed on the shirts of FC Barcelona from July as part of a three year US$46m sponsorship deal, Al Baker said he had no desire to follow other airlines and bid for stadium naming rights.
Etihad Airways’ $642m 10-year sponsorship agreement with Manchester City Football Club saw the club’s home ground renamed Etihad Stadium and Arsenal Football Club renamed its home ground Emirates Stadium as part of a deal with the Dubai carrier.
“I wish good luck to Etihad, they have plenty of money I don’t have,” Al Baker told Arabian Business. “I would rather buy airplanes with the money than going and investing in clubs.”
Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022 demonstrated his country’s interest in football, but Al Baker said it was not his personal priority: “As far as I am concerned I only like airplanes.”
Earlier this week, Ooredoo, the Qatari telecoms giant formerly known as Qtel, formerly denied reports it was in talks to put its name to Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield home ground.
"There is no basis for the current speculation linking us to the sponsorship of a Premier League Football Club. If the situation changes, we will - as always - be open and transparent in our communication with the media and with our customers," an Ooredoo spokesperson said.
Ooredoo has however recently appointed Barcelona’s Lionel Messi as its global brand ambassador and Qatar’s direct link with football comes in the shape of its ownership of French football team Paris St Germain.
Source: Arabian Business
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