Posted on June 27, 2015

FC Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has reportedly pledged that he will scrap the club's Qatar Airways shirt sponsorship deal if he is re-elected, said Arabian Business. Laporta, who was president between 2003 and 2010, this week confirmed he is running in next month's election for the Spanish football club which takes place on July 18.

Speaking at the official launch of his candidacy, Laporta said: "They [the last board, headed by rival candidate Josep Bartomeu] have linked the shirt to Qatar but we will work so that Unicef return to the shirt. We also want to fight for a good [paying] contract. If the [Manchester] United shirt is worth €70m then ours must be worth more." He has previously criticised the five-year sponsorship deal with Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which was agreed by Sandro Rosell after Laporta's exit and is worth €165 million ($225 million).

Prior to the Qatar Airways agreement, FC Barcelona was one of the few sides in world soccer not to have a corporate logo on their shirts, instead displaying the name of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), for which they paid the organisation 1.5 million euros ($2m) a year. The subsequent deal with QSI, which is in place until 2016, was controversial at the time it was agreed and Laporta has now been quoted in local media as saying: "The club has many other ways of generating revenue. It is a matter or values. I want to rescue the values of our club."

Barcelona reportedly earned a basic €32 million from Qatar Airways last season and also picked up a €5 million bonus from them for winning the Champions League. Reports suggest Bartomeu has negotiated a considerable increase in that sum with Qatar Airways now set to pay the club closer to €60 million a season from the 2016-17 campaign, a deal too good to refuse, he has said. Separately it has been reported that Barcelona have already readied their kits for the 2016-17 season, with vertical stripes to return in place of next season's horizontal stripes.