Doha, QATAR – Let the games begin! Qatar Airways has been named the official title sponsor of the FC Barcelona Asia Tour 2013 to be held in Thailand and Malaysia next month.
The exhibition games will give FC Barcelona football fans in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur an opportunity to see the Spanish La Liga Champions, also known as Barça to their fans, in action when they take on the Thai National Football Team in Bangkok on August 7, and an all-star team of the Malaysian League’s best players in Kuala Lumpur three days later on August 10.
The club will be making their first ever appearance in Malaysia and returning to Thailand for the first time since 2002. The matches, to be held in Bangkok’s Rajamangala National Stadium and Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Jalil National Stadium, are expected to reach capacity at 50,000 and 100,000 spectators, respectively.
To help bring Qatar Airways’ 1.2 million Facebook fans closer to the “Blaugrana”, the airline has launched a contest giving a few lucky fans the chance to win a trip of a lifetime to watch the best footballers in the world in action. Facebook fans can sign up for a chance to win great prizes, from signed T-shirts to VIP tickets to one of the games, to an invitation to meet two players during a private autograph session.
The contest runs until July 31st. Fans can find more information on Qatar Airways’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/qatarairways
With over 43 million fans worldwide, FC Barcelona is the most liked team, of any sport, on Facebook, with the majority of their fans based in Southeast Asia.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said it was only natural that the airline supported its new partner in a region that has such a large fan base for both organisations.
“Qatar Airways and FC Barcelona both have a large and loyal fan base in Southeast Asia,” said Al Baker. “We have been flying to the region for over 12 years, and are continuing to expand at a rapid rate. We are pleased to work with our new sports partner FC Barcelona, to take the tour to a region with the most Barça fans in the world.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the friendly matches will be a pure adrenaline rush for every fan who has dreamt of watching FCB in action on the pitch. This is just a taste of what is to come as we move forward over the next three years with our partnership with FC Barcelona,” added Al Baker.
“Fans of both Qatar Airways and FCB can expect to see passion and pride as we strive to be the best at what we do, both as individual organisations and as partners. We are excited to be part of the FC Barcelona family, and to welcome them into ours.”
Sandro Rosell, President of FC Barcelona said: “We are pleased that the Club is returning to Asia this summer with Qatar Airways, our travelling companion from July 1. We very much look forward to seeing our Thai friends again and returning to their country for the first time in more than 10 years.
“This tour will also enable us to visit Malaysia for the first time, where we know we have a lot of dedicated supporters. We want to feel close to them, especially the children, and for them to enjoy the team and our players, and get to know our club better, a club unlike any other in the world, and also our country. We thank Qatar Airways for the chance to visit these fans that have dreamed for long to see our players live.”
Qatar Airways’ network in Southeast Asia has grown significantly over the years, and now includes four flights daily to and from Bangkok, and three flights daily to and from Kuala Lumpur in addition to routes in China, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam.
The airline will launch new routes to Chengdu in China and Clark International Airport in the Philippines later this year. The current routes connect passengers with Qatar’s capital city of Doha to scores of destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 125 aircraft to 128 key business and leisure destinations worldwide.
Qatar Airways has so far launched six destinations this year – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman) and Basra (Iraq).
Over the next few months, the network will expand with the addition of further destinations – Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (August 20), Chengdu, China (September 3), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (September 18), Clark International Airport, Philippines (October 27) and Philadelphia, USA (2 April 2014).
Notes to Editors: 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. Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best Premium Service Airport for the third consecutive year in 2013. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. In October 2012, Qatar Airways became the first of the major Gulf carriers to officially announce plans to join a global alliance having been invited into the oneworld group. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com
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For further information
Qatar Airways Group, Corporate Communications Department
Tel: +974 44302072, Fax: +974 44302069