Rumored to be official, Qatar Airways has been linked to Asia’s most decorated club.
Qatar Airways has discredited whispers of an alleged sponsorship deal with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal football club, in an official statement to Doha News.
“Qatar Airways confirms the rumours are untrue,” a representative from the state-owned flag carrier told Doha News.
Initially reported by Raya media outlet, the platform claimed “Qatar Airways will be a sponsor of the Saudi club, and the announcement is coming soon”.
Qatar Airways has long been absent from the Saudi football pitch since Jeddah’s Al Ahli announced the termination of a contract with Qatari airline amid the GCC crisis in 2017.
Al Ahli signed a three-year deal with Qatar Airways in October 2014 and renewed it in May 2017, a month ahead of the blockade.
In June of that year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed all ties with Qatar and imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Doha, launching the region’s worst political crisis in years.
However, despite reconciliation materialising between the former feuding nations, Qatar Airways has yet to form no new partnerships since the political upheaval.
Presently, Al-Hilal is engaged in talks to settle a quarrel with the Saudi travel platform Flyin, whose club sponsorship was terminated due to financial issues fetched about by the global pandemic.
The Saudi Professional League champions are soliciting a settlement payment of $2 million after their sponsorship deal was cut short by more than a few years.
“The club terminated the contract five months ago, after carrying the partner’s name on their match-day shirt sleeves for only 14 months out of the proposed five years,” according to Arriyadiyah’s sources.
Neither party has publicly commented on the matter, but Al-Hilal’s board announced a new sponsorship deal with Middle Eastern quick-service chain Shawarmer.