Barca extend partnership with UNICEF to 2020


European champions Barcelona renewed a collaboration agreement with children’s charity UNICEF on Thursday till 2020, which will see the Catalan giants donate two million euros ($2.2 million) a year to promote child education.

“Until now Barcelona donated 1.5 million euros a year in their collaboration with UNICEF. This increase of half a million euros reinforces Barca’s commitment with children,” the club said in a statement.

The agreement between the club and UNICEF began in 2006 when Barca broke with their tradition of not wearing a logo on their shirt to display UNICEF’s logo and name.

Since then the UNICEF name has been shifted to the back of the Barca jersey to accomodate a multi-million euro sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways.

However, Barca’s contribution has still benefited over a million children in projects in Ghana, China, Brazil and South Africa, according to the club and UNICEF.

“We want to reach the children of the world and continue being the club that children admire and love, and continue to be a club for everyone that does more than just play football,” said Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

“You are an inspiration for all of us for how you do things on the field,” said UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake.

“Less well-known, but more important is what Barca does off the field, including this fantastic agreement.”

Despite winning five trophies last year thanks to the star forward trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, Barca’s off-field reputation has been hit by a series of scandals.

The club, Bartomeu and former president Sandro Rosell face tax evasion charges for the murky deal which brought Neymar to the club in 2013.

Messi also faces a tax fraud trial in May over 4.16 million euros related to image rights.

And defender Javier Mascherano also accepted a one-year suspended prison sentence and fine last month over irregularities in his tax returns over image rights.