Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Qatar Jersey Deal Stinks

The last week of Jedi soccer has been quite interesting.  Yesterday our heroes were uncharacteristically held to a goaless draw in the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) competition by Athletic Bilbao, despite throwing everything at the stubborn Basque side but the kitchen sink.  Even so, despite this tied score, Barca remains at the top of La Liga, because just four days ago the Blaugrana totally clobbered city rivals Espanyol by the score of 5 - 1, opening a 5 point lead over rivals Real Madrid in La Liga standings.  So, things couldn't be better right now for Barcelona on the pitch, and in the league standings.

However... there is trouble brewing over the recently announced jersey sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation.  According to Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv, Israeli "diplomats had been sent to Barcelona to try to persuade the club to back out of the five-year deal it signed eight days ago.  The fresh controversy follows claims made by Spanish paper El Mundo 10 days ago that the Qatar Foundation had given money to extremist cleric Yusuf al Qaradawi, an advocate of terrorism, wife beating and anti-Semitism."

Of course, rabid anti-semites will jump on this to say its all Israeli lies; but frankly I have more faith in the Israeli sensitivity to terrorist connections, than I do in the current management of Barcelona to NOT jump on dirty money.

Need I remind anyone that the Qatar Foundation is a wholly owned enterprise of the Qatari Royal family?

Added to the litany of worker abuses in Qatar, this pretty much seals the deal in my case.  Our beloved Club is being purchased by a country with a history of abusing its workers and, apparently, funding terrorism.

In a related development, according to, "Barcelona's shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation will reportedly allow the Catalans to launch fresh bids next summer for Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres."

Fabregas is Catalan and it would be wonderful to have him playing for Barca.  Fernando Torres would also be a splendid addition to the Club.  Perhaps we can simply assemble the entire Spanish National Team and dress them in the Blaugrana, then unleash them on Europe as "FC Barcelona."  We are not far from that right now.

However, in my opinion, Barcelona is doing splendidly right now without Fabregas and Torres.  It would be great to have them but we don't need them.  FC Barcelona is kicking ass and taking names all over Europe right now, they are currently the best professional football team on the planet.  We are so rich with talent that we can actually pass on these two talented players and it won't hurt the club's performance on the pitch.

We don't need them.  Especially at the price of selling our soul and the socially responsible traditions of this great club.

Kill this smelly jersey deal, I say.  If we must sell the jersey... sell it to someone else.  ANYONE other than the Qatar Foundation.  This is all becoming a very ugly business.