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Dec 12, 2010

The Qatar Foundation Shirt sponsorship deal has been the most discussed news in past 48 hours in Barca fans circle. Eventhough there is a match against Real Sociedad tonight, but Barca fans looks like least bothered about it. Pep Guardiola yesterday during his pre match press cobference has defended the Qatar Foundation deal, actually Qatar Government as a whole. He said "Injustices exist all over the world, not only in Qatar. It is a Muslim country but is much more open than people think and it is a very safe country. It has a government that has given a lot of assistance everywhere and its people are well educated. When I was there, I was well received and I had a great experience. I can do everything that I would not have been able to do had it been a country that does not respect human rights.The people have all the freedom they can have in this world.Yes, the women there can choose to get a profession, and if the majority of them stay at home it’s because they choose to, due to their religion. As for the segregation between the sexes, that too is because they respect the teaching of their religion." Thanks for for translating this interview.

A simple re-look at the statement made by Guardiola shows that he is desperately defending the Kingdom. The big question is Why? Qatar is not the only Kingdom in the region which is in similiar situation. You can say same things about countries like Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran or even the more conservative Saudi Arabia. This raises the question about the recent coziness shown between FC Barcelona administartion and Qatar World cup bid team. FC Barcelona did come out in open as a big supporter for Qatar World Cup bid. So the big question arises, why we openly supported Qatar bid? Does it mean that we believed that Qatar had more credentials to host the world cup more than the likes of United States of America, Japan, South Korea and Australia. When Guardiola came out in open supporting the bid, everyone attributed it to his earlier association with country. Now it is becoming more clear taht we supported the bid so that this deal could go through without any problem.

If UNICEF can, Why couldn't Qatar Foundation?

This is a usual question that we see a lot in these days. We already have UNICEF logo on the shirt, why so much fuss about having another non-profit organisation's shirt. It rather strange to see people comparing UNICEF to Qatar Foundation. Just because an organisation defines itself as non-profit organisation, it makes it similiar to UNICEF? To undestand that we should look into the motto and work done by both these organisation. UNICEF was created to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. "Qatar Foundation is a private, chartered, non-profit organization in the state of Qatar, Founded in 1995 by decree of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar. Qatar Foundation focuses on education, scientific research and community development. Under Qatar Foundation’s umbrella are Education City which has universities, academic and training programs, and Qatar Science & Technology Park which has more than 21 companies involved in scientific research and development. Chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, Qatar Foundation aims to enhance lives through community development initiatives including Doha Debates, Reach out To Asia and Al Jazeera Children's Channel. Joint venture partnerships in the areas of design, ICT, telecommunications, policy studies and event management contribute to fulfilling the objectives of the Qatar Foundation. From Wikipedia". I still cannot understand the audacity with which people go on comparing these two organisation. Its like comparing Mandela with Zuma, because both were South African presidents.

Qatar foundation website describes themselves as "Qatar Foundation is dedicated to building human capital in a part of the world where the need and potential for human development are considerable. Through its threefold mission of education, scientific research and community development, it is helping build a sustainable society where the sharing and creation of knowledge will enhance quality of life for all." Now comes the simple question. What does it actually means? We all ahve eduction and human resources development ministries in our respective nations. Don't you think the motto expressed by the Qatar foundation is similiar to theirs? Then why does the Kingdom of Qatar needs a foundation to look after thing which normally is the duty of their educational ministries. Partnership with foreign universities exist in every country and if you are going to potray those partnerships as charity, you better contact a psychiatrist. Qatar has been trying to re-align themselves as something similiar to what UAE has been doing. The eagerness to get the Asian games and now the subsequent successful bidding for 2022 world cup are all a brand building excercise for the Royal family. Qatar foundation for me looks like an extended PR arm of the kingdom and nothing more than that. So comparing themselves to UNICEF would like insulting the great insitution which have worked for children across the world for years.

If we want the money, For God sake just admit it

Barca Vice President, Javier Faux in the press conference emphasised on Qatar foundation being a non-profit organisation and that was the major factor which led to this deal becoming reality. Taking a dig on the previous regime, he also mentioned that the economic stability requires such a deal. Sandro Rosell came into power promising a great deal of transperency. But the only thing he meant by that looks like exposing Laporta. This deal was in the pipeline from the moment he started working and the support for Qatar 2022 was aresult of that. If we are going to have sponsors, then what is the problem in having a corporate house sponsoring? Every big corporate houses in the world have non-profit arm working for some kind of wlefare schemes. Why can't we then invite them for an open bid? What is the basic difference in money coming from the Royal Family of some country or from a big corporate house. In the future why can't we have the Bill gates foundation sponsoring us? These all are non-profit organisation, ain't they? Actually why this insistence of that the organisation has to be a non-profit organisation. Why can't we directly have a company like BWIN or Betfair sponsoring us. Betfair anyway is our official betting partner. So what is the big deal in this kind of unfair insitence when we have put the shirt for sale?

International Fans vs Catalan Fans

The international Barca fans, or in Sandro Rosell's way of describing "The Unwanted Posers" looks like is in total disagreement with this deal. That is in stark contrast with what the real fans(according to Rosell) from Catalan thinks. Going by' survey, more than 60% of the fans are in support of such a deal. Why is such a difference in opinion seen among two groups? The way FC Barcelona play football is one reason why most of the internation fans start liking the club, some likes the club because their favourite players are in the club. But what makes these guys love the club is the club's motto "Mes Que un Club" and the stories associated with them. So does selling the shirt makes the club less Mes Que un Club? No, but seeing every action through the view point of money does that. Giving up on a reverred tradition at the first signal of an exaggerated crisis does make the club less special. This is a club where the supporters marched on to the the pitch in defiance of the World Trade Organisation. Now there are rumours of the club looking for sponsor for everything owned by the club, the stadiums, the academies etc. Is these actions wrong? No absolutely no. But then why did the previous generation vigorously opposed it? May be they have no damn idea of modern economic management.

Whatever be the argument or counter argument, nothing is going to change now. The international fans can make how much noise they want, but the closed Catalan members of the club is not going to give a damn. And the truth is that it makes much economic sense to brush away these opposition. May be in the future, we will remember these times as when the clubs started to become "Just Another Club".

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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