Barcelona rejects betting site for shirt sponsorship

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.

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