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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Emirates to continue sponsorship of Paris Saint-Germain

The Dubai-based airline has sponsored the French football club since 2006

French football club Paris Saint-Germain is actively courting FC Barcelona's Neymar. Justin Tallis / AFP
French football club Paris Saint-Germain is actively courting FC Barcelona's Neymar. Justin Tallis / AFP

Emirates, the world’s largest carrier by international passengers, will continue its sponsorship agreement with the Qatar-backed Paris Saint-Germain football club, even as a political crisis between Doha and four Arab countries enters its third month, a top airline official said.

“PSG is a French club, Emirates has an existing relationship and agreement with them,” Boutros Boutros, divisional senior vice-president, corporate communications, market and brand, Emirates Group told The National.

“We always look at our external agreements in terms of marketing, pricing and the return on investment in terms of media publicity and the institution. Based on that we make our decisions rather than on any other criteria to do with a specific football club. For the moment our relationship continues,” he added.

Emirates started sponsoring the French football club in 2006, which earned about 521 million euros (Dhs 2.26 billion) in 2015-16, putting it sixth globally, according to the Deloitte Football Money League ranking of the top 20 clubs. Manchester United was ranked first place reaping 689m euros, followed by FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Abu Dhabi-backed Manchester City.

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PSG which are owned by Oryx Qatar Sports Investments have won four France Ligue 1 titles in a row between 2012-13 and 2015-16, the French Cup the past three seasons, the French League Cup the past four years and the French Champions Trophy the past five years in a row.

They have become established as one of the biggest sides in Europe and are currently linked with a world record move for Barcelona forward Neymar who has a buy-out clause at the Spanish club of more than euro 200 million.

Read our essential guide to the Qatar crisis here: Qatar crisis - what you need to know

Neymar has the potential to redraw the map of European football. His could be a perception-altering move.

Barcelona beat PSG 6-1 in the Uefa Champions League last season, which largely due to Neymar, who scored two of his side’s three late goals and provided the other.