Just few minutes ago Barcelona Futbal Club won its forth Champions Cup defeating Manchester United 3 to 1 in an enthusiastic final in Wembley Stadium. For once, it is nice to match together the worlds of football and development cooperation. Usually sponsors pay to see their name on jerseys of most popular football teams. On the contrary, just five years ago in September 2006 F.C. Barcelona and UNICEF signed a unique five year partnership to help children in the developing world. Since the 2006-2007 season we can see the UNICEF logo featuring on the front of Barça jersey for the first time in the club’s 107 year history. The team pays to the UN agency around 1,5 million euro each year. Of course, this agreement is also a good marketing initiative.
The first beneficiaries have been vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS in Swaziland. The partnership will be renewed in June 2011. From next season the UNICEF logo will be on jersey back after Qatar Foundation, a institution promoting education and research in Middle East, signed a record shirt sponsorship deal with Barcelona last December for 30 million euros a season, or 165 million euros until 2016 to advertise its logo on the front. Apart from this "battle of jersey sides", let's hope for the future, that more and more important football teams will work in partnership with development institutions to improve public awareness on development issues and help millions of fans in developing countries.