NAIROBI, Kenya – Qatar Airways, global main partner of FC Barcelona, promoted the launch of the football organisation’s first official supporters club in Kenya – Penya Barcelonista Mashariki (PBM).
A ‘Penya Barcelonista’ is a group of supporters who are officially recoginsed by FC Barcelona. They often gather to watch matches and celebrate their love of both football and the club.
The launch took place at a well-attended high society social event at the Capital Club in Westlands, Nairobi, befitting of football’s first major calendar event in 2014 by FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell.
Since its beginnings, FC Barcelona has been characterized by being not just a football organization, but also a powerful force for globalization, solidarity, integration and social cohesion. Mr. Rosell said the launch of the supporters club in Kenya, continues FC Barcelona’s global appeal anchored on a commitment to universality. The Penya launch in Nairobi was the first Mr. Rosell has ever attended in his role as President of the club.
Currently, FC Barcelona has nine official supporters clubs in Africa: Nigeria (Penya Barça de Lagos Club); South Africa (Mzansi Penya Barcelonista); Senegal (Penya Blaugrana de la Casamance); Gambia (Sambou’s Barça Fans Club); Tangier, Morocco (Penya Barcelonista de Tanger); Tetouan, Morocco (Penya Barca Tétouani); El Jadida, Morocco (Association Penya Mazagan FCB); Morocco (Penya Blaugrana Aït Nsar) and Casa Anfa, Morocco (Gent Blaugrana d’Anfa).
The love of football in Africa, where some of the Club’s Stars have come from – Seidu Keita, Alex Song, Samuel E’too among others, typifies the wonderful unity and diversity of the club and the spirit of football globally.
Commenting on this, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “As FC Barcelona’s global partner, we are committed to creating joint initiatives with the club that help unite them with their fans. We are thrilled to be here today as we launch the first official FC Barcelona supporters club in Kenya.”
Through this initiative the airline places special focus on connecting with the club’s fans to spread the love of football to all corners of the globe.
“As one of the most popular sports in the world, football instantly touches the hearts of millions. Supporting one of the most exciting clubs in world football offers us an important platform to connect emotionally to the fans of this beautiful game," said Mr. Al Baker.
Sandro Rosell (middle) with Sami Debbiche, Qatar Airways Country Manager Kenya and Dana El Namly, Qatar Airways Regional Marketing Manager Africa
Sandro Rosell (left) and Sami Debbiche with winner of two Business Class tickets King’ori Gathinji
With the launch, Kenyan and East African supporters of FC Barcelona who sign up with the Supporters Club will have access to FCB merchandise at reduced rates, venue discounts during match viewing, access to tickets during matches at Camp Nou and much more. The membership level starts from an annual subscription of Sh15, 000 for Junior Level to Sh120, 000 for Elite membership.
To add to the excitement of the evening, a raffle was held giving guests an opportunity to win fabulous prizes. Mr. Rosell picked the name of King’ori Gathinji, the lucky winner of two round trip Business Class tickets from Nairobi to Barcelona. In addition, three excited guests won signed pictures of Messi, Fabregas and Xavi.
FC Barcelona is one of the most supported teams in the world, and has the largest fan base among all sports teams on all major social networks (with over 49 million fans on Facebook, more than 10 million followers on Twitter, and over 6 million on Google+). FC Barcelona is considered by several managers, players and experts to be the greatest team of all time having won four UEFA Champions League, a record four UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, four UEFA Super Cup, a record three Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and a record two FIFA Club World Cup trophies to date.
Doha-based Qatar Airways currently operates 18 flights-a-week to Kenya’s capital city Nairobi. The airline has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 134 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and The Americas.
Over the next few months, the network will grow further with Sharjah and Dubai World Central, both in the UAE (March 1, 2014); Larnaca, Cyprus (April 29); Philadelphia, USA (April 2, 2014); Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Turkey (May 22, 2014); Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28, 2014); Miami, USA (June 10, 2014) and Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (July 1, 2014).
Notes to Editors:
On October 30, 2013, Qatar Airways joined the oneworld Alliance, becoming the only major Gulf carrier to join a global airline alliance, enabling its customers to benefit from almost a thousand airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,000 daily departures.
Qatar Airways was presented with three honours at the annual Skytrax 2013 World Airline Awards held during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, France in June. The airline was awarded World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Lounge and, for the second consecutive year, Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East.
The airline has also been named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport named Best Premium Service Airport for the third consecutive year in 2013. Qatar Airways has also twice been the recipient of the prestigious Skytrax Airline of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry.
Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 family of aircraft. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com.