Barcelona will promote the U.N. refugee agency’s logo on the back of its jerseys for the next four seasons under a partnership announced on Tuesday.
The agreement comes after the UNHCR recently said an unprecedented 100 million people had been forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other deadly conflicts.
Barcelona handed over sponsorship space on its jerseys to the UNHCR rather than selling to a commercial entity despite the club having debts of 1.3 billion euros ($1.3 billion).
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“I am sure our fans, our members — the owners of the club — are more than happy with this global alliance with UNHCR because we have shown to the world our heart,” Barcelona president Joan Laporta said. “We have shown to the world our soul.”
Barcelona’s men have not won a trophy in two of the last three seasons.
“We want Barcelona to be a successful club and we want Barcelona to be financially healthy, that is obvious,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said alongside Laporta at a news conference. “That is not in contrast with having a social conscience.”
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Barcelona’s foundation will split 400,000 euros per season with UNHCR projects in Colombia, Malaysia, Turkey and Uganda. Barcelona will also donate the equivalent of 100,000 euros a year in sporting equipment and sports knowledge.
While the UNHCR logo will be on the reverse of Barcelona’s jerseys from next season, the front will feature the brand of audio streaming platform Spotify.