January 25 – Real Madrid have agreed to redesign their club badge to eliminate the traditional Christian cross as part of a new clothing deal in several Middle Eastern countries.
Marka, a retail group from the United Arab Emirates, have obtained exclusive rights to “manufacture, distribute and sell Real Madrid products” in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.
The deal covers clothing such as T-shirts, polo shirts and swimwear but not replica shirts, which are manufactured by Adidas and are sold featuring the cross.
Marka vice-president Khaled al-Mheiri said the badge was being changed because of cultural sensitivities.
“We have to be careful with regions of the Gulf where there is sensitivity about products that have a cross,” said al-Mheiri.
It is not the first time the symbol has been altered. In 2014, Real Madrid eliminated the Christian cross in its logo when it was used by its sponsor the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
The European champions’ main shirt sponsor is Dubai-based airline Emirates.
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