FC Barcelona has decided against signing online gambling company betandwin as its first shirt sponsor, according to sources close to the negotiations.
It is understood the Spanish league-leader has decided not to sign with the Austrian company, which is already an official partner of the club, because it felt uncomfortable having a betting company as its main sponsor.
Sources close to the deal say consumer electronics giant Samsung has now approached the club, which is understood to be asking â¬20m (&£14m) a year.
The club is the last major European club not to have signed a shirt sponsor.
It has a history of considering itself “mas que un club” – more than a club – and has traditionally balked at the idea of its strip even carrying a sponsor’s name.
But over the past year it has been aggressively marketing itself and has also been linked to the Chinese government in a five-year deal to promote the Beijing Olympics (MW June 9, 2005).
But despite plenty of interest, observers say Barcelona is struggling to find a sponsor it is happy with because of the high asking price.
They say the club has not yet developed itself into a global brand in the way other superclubs such as Manchester United have, making it difficult for a sponsor to exploit a deal outside Spain.