Advert

Wearing A Barcelona Shirt In Saudi Arabia Could Land You 15 Years In Prison

Published 
| Last updated 

Wearing A Barcelona Shirt In Saudi Arabia Could Land You 15 Years In Prison

Prior to last season, for the last five years, Barcelona had clocked up a staggering average of 1,278,000 shirt sales per year.

In fact, it was only bettered by Manchester United (1.75m) and Real Madrid (1.65m). In 2016, Lionel Messi racked up the most individual shirt sales.

So, it's pretty common to walk in any city across the world and find someone wearing the number 9 of Luis Suarez, the 10 of Lionel Messi or the 11 of Neymar - all in the infamous red and blue vertical stripes that are synonymous with the Catalan club.

In fact, looking at them in detail, it's hard to see what could possibly be so offensive about them.

Advert

Credit: PA

The one place you won't be seeing them, unless you fancy slapping yourself in the face with a 15-year prison sentence, is Saudi Arabia.

Due to the tense, current, political situation between Qatar and other middle-eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Barcelona shirts are banned.

Advert

That's because Barca shirts are sponsored by Qatar Airways - the state-owned airline of the sovereign country.

The ban comes as a diplomatic row heightens between Saudi, along with Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE, and concerns of Qatar's links to extremist groups.

Credit: PA

Advert

Qatar rejects the claims.

Qatari blogger Raed Al-Emadi showed how censorship had already been put in place across the country, with an image of the Barcelona striker trio (Messi, Neymar, and Suarez) featuring a huge white blanking of where the sponsor should be.

Saudi Arabia shut its borders to Qatar and closed transport links between the countries, including flights, and suspended diplomatic relations, in wake of the possible links to terrorism.

Advert

The ban on Qatar Airways has affected the flights of many aeroplanes in and out of the country, with many of them being diverted into a much longer journey.

Credit: Twitter

The move could have an knock-on effect for preparations for the 2022 World Cup, hosted by Qatar, with access restricted to the country for the supply of materials.

Advert

Thankfully, new Barcelona shirts for next season will soon be able to be worn openly. On July 30, when the current sponsorship deal ends, Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce company, will take the place of Qatar Airways for the 2017-18 season.

The Qatar Airways deal was significant though, when it was announced they'd sponsor the Spanish football giants - it was the first time the club had allowed a shirt sponsor in their history.

Credit: PA

Barcelona were only successful on one front last season, winning the Copa Del Rey. They finished runners up to Real Madrid in La Liga and were knocked out of the Champions League to losing finalists Juventus.

They'll hope they back on the (flight) path to greater success next season.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Saudi Arabia, Football, Barcelona

Michael Minay
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

News

$100-Per-Hour Professional Cuddler Explains Why She Loves Getting Strange Requests

13 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

News

Man Pays Final Child Support Payment With 80,000 Coins

18 hours ago