Football fans in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wearing a Barcelona FC jersey could land a $135,000 fine or 15 years in prison in the newest move in the Qatar crisis.
Qatar Sports Investment signed a deal with Barcelona FC in 2011 to put their logo on the jersey, a historic deal as the club had not put a sponsor’s logo on their shirts in 111 years.
The Spanish Barcelona FC is popular in the Gulf, and the arbitrary move by the UAE sparked outrage on social media.
Although the sponsorship with Qatar Airways ends June 30, UAE officials announced that social media posts sympathetic to Qatar are punishable by three to 15 years in jail or fines of at least $135,000.
A photo posted by a Qatari blogger showed the hostility toward Qatar and anti-Qatar censorship in the region.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Jordan and the UAE suspended diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar earlier this week.