Qatar Airways flying in for multi-host Euro 2020
Qatar Airways has stepped up its sponsorship of international soccer with the Middle East country's national carrier becoming the official airline for this year’s European Championships.
The deal was announced by Uefa today, with the company to receive branding in the stadiums and on digital platforms for Euro 2020, which, having been delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, takes place from 11 June to 11 July, 2021.
The tournament is due to involve 24 teams playing 51 matches in 12 cities across Europe, and Qatar Airways will serve the hosts either directly or through its airline partners.
The agreement builds on Qatar Airways high-level involvement in soccer, notably as a top-tier Fifa Partner, in a deal that runs to the 2022 World Cup in its home market at the end of next year.
The company was the official airline partner of the Club World Cup held in Qatar earlier this month.
Qatar Airways is also a partner of Conmebol, the South American confederation, for the Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana and Recopa Sudamerica club competitions, in an agreement also running to the end of next year.
Meanwhile, prominent clubs in its expanding sponsorship stable include France’s Paris Saint-Germain, Germany’s Bayern Munich, Italy’s AS Roma, Argentina’s Boca Juniors, Belgium’s K.A.S. Eupen and Qatar’s Al Sadd.
From 2013 to 2017 Qatar Airways was the main shirt sponsor of Spanish giants Barcelona.
Qatar Airways is the second new Euro 2020 sponsor to be announced this month, following TikTok, the Chinese mobile video app.
Companies already on board included Alipay, Booking.com, Coca-Cola, FedEx, Heineken, Hisense, Socar, Takeaway.com, Vivo and Volkswagen.
Uefa has been signing up partners for the tournament aided by the CAA Eleven agency, which is responsible for marketing media, sponsorship and licensing rights for the governing body's national team competitions.
Guy-Laurent Epstein, the Uefa marketing director, said on Monday: “We are delighted to welcome Qatar Airways on board as an Official Partner of Uefa Euro 2020. Like sport, travel unites us. Now more than ever, next summer represents the ideal opportunity for us to celebrate the excitement that the competition will bring. We will, together, celebrate the 16th edition of the European Championship.”
Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker added: “Qatar Airways is delighted to partner with Uefa to connect players and officials across the globe through our world class service. The power of sport to unite people is unrivalled, and this partnership with Uefa Euro 2020 is an excellent opportunity for us to witness the very best in European football. Furthermore, this alliance illustrates our commitment to Europe, and accentuates our growing sporting partnership portfolio.”
Given the logistical and travel challenges presented by Covid-19, there have been claims that the number of hosts for Euro 2020 may have to be reduced.
However, Uefa has so far stuck to the 12-city plan, and would reject any offer from England, which is already due to stage seven matches, including the semi-finals and final, at Wembley Stadium in London to stage the entire tournament, according to the PA News agency.
The UK is one of the most advanced countries in terms of its coronavirus vaccination programme and culture secretary Oliver Dowden had signalled to Uefa that spectators are likely to return to stadiums before the rest of Europe, the Times newspaper reported.
Uefa had already played down the prospect of staging major international and club matches in Israel, another country well down the road on the vaccination front, following an offer from the national association.
The full list of host cities for Euro 2020 is: Amsterdam (Netherlands); Baku (Azerbaijan); Bilbao (Spain); Bucharest (Romania); Budapest (Hungary); Copenhagen (Denmark); Dublin (Ireland); Glasgow (Scotland); London (England); Munich (Germany); Rome (Italy); and Saint Petersburg (Russia).