As the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar approaches, there is an increasing amount of money invested into football by companies and organisations from the Middle East.
Currently, significant partnerships in football with Middle Eastern groups and executives include Emirati politician Sheikh Mansour’s ownership of Manchester City, Qatari ruler Tamim bin Hamad Al Thanir’s ownership of Paris Saint Germain, and the controversial awarding of the upcoming men’s FIFA World Cup to Qatar.
In recent developments, Spanish team Real Madrid has held advanced talks with Saudi Arabia over a commercial partnership, The Times reports.
The deal would see the reigning La Liga champions promote Saudi Arabia’s state-owned tourism project ‘Qiddiya’.
The partnership is predicted to be worth approximately EUR$150m/AUD$230m over ten years.
Qiddiya would be also the major sponsor for Real’s women’s team, involving players travelling to Saudi Arabia in an effort to promote female participation in sport.
This potential deal comes as Emirates Airlines shirt sponsorship deal is set to end with the club at the conclusion of the 2021/22 season.
Qatar Airways has also increased its sponsorship in European football, joining Euro 2020 as its latest sponsor.
The European Championships, set to take place mid-way through this year, will feature Qatar Airways as the official airline of the tournament.
Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said that this deal is another important investment.
“The power of sport to unite people is unrivalled, and this partnership with Uefa Euro 2020 is an excellent opportunity for us to witness the very best in European football,” Al Baker said.
“Furthermore, this alliance illustrates our commitment to Europe, and accentuates our growing sporting partnership portfolio,” he said.
They join a band of other sponsors for the tournament, including Alipay, Booking.com, Coca-Cola, FedEx, Heineken, Hisense, Socar, Takeaway.com, TikTok, Vivo and Volkswagen.