Barcelona fans in Saudi Arabia could face a A$200,000 fine and up to 15 years behind bars for wearing their team’s colours.
It is now a crime to wear this Messi or Barcelona shirt in Saudi Arabia because of Qatar
Saudi Arabia war against Qatar has deepened with the latest being
criminalising wearing a Barcelona shirt in the country. It means that
fans wearing a Lionel Messi or Neymar shirt will go to jail in the Saudi
Qatar Airways has been a sponsor of the Catalan team for four seasons, with its name emblazoned on the club’s jersey.
Now, the Saudis have decreed that wearing the shirt could earn one a fine of up to £120,000 and a 15-year prison sentence.
The new decree came after the Kingdom also banned hotels from
watching Al Jazeera channels, a global TV network supported by Qatar.
Tensions in the Gulf region have seen countries such as Saudi
Arabia boycott Qatari entities – and their measures could impact
football fans who wish to wear Neymar and Lionel Messi replica shirts.
Qatar’s Arab neighbours have blacklisted entities such as Qatar
Airways over their alleged extremist connection, with Barca shirts
sporting the airline’s logo said to be outlawed. Qatar have rejected the
The ban comes amid a diplomatic row as Saudi Arabia blacklisted
entities and individuals that they perceive as connecting Qatar to
extremist groups, with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Yemen and
Barcelona have been sponsored by Qatar Airways for the past four
seasons, but they have agreed a new four-year deal with Japanese online
retailer Rakuten from the start of the 2017-18 campaign.
Last summer, Barca’s own fan base called for the club to cut ties
with Gulf state Qatar, which included a petition signed by over 60,000