Dubai’s Emirates airline confirmed Thursday it would sponsor the shirts of Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain until 2019, despite a regional crisis which has seen the UAE cut ties with Doha.
Emirates’ announcement comes less than a week after Brazilian football phenomenon Neymar transferred from Barcelona to the French club for a world record 222 million euros ($264 million), paid for by Qatar.
“Emirates has a sponsorship contract with the French football club PSG until 2019. So far the club has fulfilled its full obligations and we see no reason to terminate the contract,” a spokesman for the airline told AFP.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties with Qatar over allegations the Gulf emirate bankrolled Islamist extremists and was too close to Shiite Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional archrival.
Qatar has denied the allegations.
Analysts have said the transfer of Neymar may aim to divert public attention away from the political crisis engulfing Qatar.
PSG players have worn jerseys sponsored by Emirates, which is owned by the Dubai government, since 2006.
Emirates Airlines has partnerships with AC Milan, Real Madrid and Arsenal.