Etisalat Group, the leading telecommunications operator in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and FC Barcelona yesterday announced the renewal of a four-year partnership agreement. The deal means the UAE-based company is FC Barcelona’s official partner in the UAE, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Niger, Gabon and the Central African Republic.
The contract was signed during Mobile World Congress 2013 – a major event for the telecommunications industry taking place in Barcelona – at FC Barcelona’s stadium, Camp Nou, by Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, the Chief Executive Officer of the Etisalat Group and Sandro Rosell, FC Barcelona’s President. They were accompanied by Eissa Al Suwaidi, the Chairman of Etisalat Group, Saleh Al Abdooli, the CEO of Etisalat UAE, Khalid Al Kaf, the CEO of Mobily (which operates in Saudi Arabia), Steven Evans, the CEO of Etisalat Nigeria, Nagi Abboud, the CEO of Atlantique Telecom and Essa Al Haddad, Etisalat Group’s Chief Regional Officer for Africa.
Speaking about the partnership, Mr Julfar, Etisalat Group’s CEO, said: “As a global telecommunications operator, it makes sense for us to partner with a world-class football club interested in expanding its international fan base. This partnership presents a unique opportunity for us to engage and share the talents of FC Barcelona with our customers.”
Sandro Rosell, the President of FC Barcelona, expressed a deep satisfaction for the continuity of the alliance with Etisalat: “They are pioneers in telecom services in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and this will allow FC Barcelona to strengthen the connection with and feel closer to our fans in these territories. It will also help to share the FCB feeling there as well as letting us grow in social and economic terms.”
Saleh Al Abdooli, CEO, Etisalat UAE said: “Today football is the most popular game in the UAE and playing a significant role in the lives of youth today. Barcelona FC is one of the most prominent football clubs globally with a record number of championships. Etisalat’s renewal of the contract with Barcelona FC restates our values focused on excellence, ambition and creativity. As a UAE based organization, it’s been top priority to extend our efforts from creating a successful business model as well as supporting activities impacting various elements of the ecosystem.”