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Barcelona confirm approach from viagra company for historic partnership

Barcelona signed a historic shirt sponsorship agreement with United Nations agency UNICEF in 2006 as their first ever kit sponsor but it has been revealed they were approached by a viagra company

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The club slogan of Barcelona is ‘Mes Que Un Club’ (more than a club) reflective of the efforts made over the years to hold the institution to higher standards than elsewhere.

The Catalan giants held out longer than any other elite football club before adorning their shirts with a sponsorship deal, before a historic deal was struck in 2006.

The club – then under the direction of president Joan Laporta, who was re-elected into his position in March this year after a decade away – had offers from multiple companies, desperate to secure that historic kit agreement.

Ultimately, Barca decided to break the mould and have UNICEF – a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide – on the front of their shirts.

It was an unorthodox agreement that would mean instead of the club being paid by a company to expose their brand, they would actually pay the agency in order to expose their work.

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Barcelona’s ‘Mes Que Un Club’ slogan at their Camp Nou stadium
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Image:

Alex Caparros)




The club’s chief executive at the time, Joan Oliver, put it: “We think of it as a reverse sponsorship.”

At first the deal seemed to be highly unusual as this would mean that in the short-term the club would not make any money from a key income stream.

It was a decision that was not purely a financial one but had a stronger social aspect, it was an agreement that would strengthen Barca’s ‘brand’ and reinforce their ‘Mes Que Un Club’ slogan.









Yet there was a business element to the decision, as it was deliberate to separate Barca from the other top clubs, to justify their slogan and increase their potential fanbase, which was coupled with huge successes on the pitch – the club won Champions League crowns in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015.

As Oliver explained: “The strategy has been to build FCB as a world-run, and not as a local team.

“This strategy has allowed us to be probably one of the top three brands in football in the world. The brand is the real asset we have.”



Barcelona wore UNICEF as their shirt sponsors when they won the Champions League title in 2009
(

Image:

REUTERS)




It was already known that the other companies who had contacted the club to secure that elusive sponsorship deal included those from the gambling sector and also to promote the Beijing Olympic Games for 2008.

On Saturday, Laporta confirmed that another company who had made an offer were involved in selling Viagra.

Laporta told a membership meeting: “In my first spell I had offers for the shirt sponsor, for example, from a bookmaker and a company that wanted to sell viagra but it did not seem appropriate.

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“We decided to go with UNICEF.”

In December 2010, when Sandro Rosell had replaced Laporta as Barca president, the club signed a landmark shirt sponsorship agreement with the Qatar Foundation which replaced UNICEF on Barca’s kits.

Qatar Foundation and subsequently Qatar Airways were the sponsor on Barca’s kit, before Japanese company Rakuten began a sponsorship deal from the 2017-18 season onwards.


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