Barcelona's socis, its more than 173,000 dues-paying members, must vote Sunday on a lucrative but controversial shirt deal with the Qatar Foundation that would earn the Spanish champion, which has never put paid advertising on its jersey in its 112-year history, $230 million over five years.
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who is unlikely to attend Saturday’s vote, says the jersey makes Barca look more like Qatar’s national team. And former Barca coach and player Johan Cruyff has labeled the deal “vulgar.”
Current president Sandro Rosell, who had a falling out with Laporta, insists Barca, who has won three straight La Liga titles and two Champions League titles in the last three years, needs the money to stay at its current level.
“Our team looks like the Qatar national team now," Laporta counters. "It’s a lie that a deal had to be struck with Qatar because we lack money. They say Barcelona is in bad shape economically. All external signs point to the club being in the best shape it’s ever been for results and economically speaking. They need to explain the Qatar contract in full [because] they’ve sold the shirt for four cents.”