Online petition demands Barcelona to cut ties with Qatar Airways
"Leading up to the election of the new President of FC Barcelona, there were loud demands to scrap Qatar Airways' sponsorship of the football club due to its alleged treatment of its female cabin crew."
An online petition demanding that the club not renew its deal with Qatar Airways next year went viral, collecting more than 50,000 signatures within a few hours.
The issue was one of the debates leading up to the presidential elections last month and many candidates, including the leading favourite Joan Laporta who indicated that he would scrap the club's Qatar Airways shirt-sponsorship deal if he were elected.
He had previously criticised the five-year sponsorship deal with Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), worth Pound 165 million which ends in 2016.
Ultimately, incumbent president Josep Maria Bartomeu was re-elected to his position. Prior to his election he said that the club was reconsidering the sponsorship agreement due to the social and political" situation in Qatar.
Barcelona had not previously carried corporate sponsorship on their shirts, and in 2006 the club agreed a deal with UNICEF that saw them pay the organisation to wear its branding.