FC Barcelona's jerseys will carry the name Qatar Airways starting next July in compliance with a request from the Spanish club's current main sponsor, Qatar Sports Investments.

The team's economic vice president, Javier Faus, confirmed the name switch Friday in statements to Barca TV, noting that the shirt sponsorship deal with QSI is worth 171 million euros ($218 million) over five years.

Barcelona's shirts have featured the Qatar Foundation name since the start of the 2011-2012 season.

"Out of loyalty to that sponsor, just because they asked us, we had the minimal obligation to honor (the request)," Faus said.

He said the airline has had a presence at Barcelona's international airport since last summer and plans to invest more in that facility.

"We thought that a foreign company that wanted to come to our country under the current economic circumstances deserves our full respect," Faus said, referring to Spain's severe economic crisis.

He noted that the contract with QSI allows a logo switch on the jersey starting in the third year of the deal.

FC Barcelona and QSI, meanwhile, agreed to designate the Qatar Foundation at the soccer club's official human development sponsor.

EFE