Real Madrid have removed the Christian cross from their club logo on certain products sold in the Middle East as part of a €50 million marketing deal with Marka. The new products should be available for sale by March.
Marka, a retailing group based in the United Arab Emirates, have been granted exclusive rights to “manufacture, distribute and sell Real Madrid products” in countries across the Middle East, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.
This manufacturing agreement will allow Marka to sell various club merchandise such as t-shirts, polo shirts and swim wear using an adapted form of Real Madrid’s club logo which doesn’t feature the Christian cross. However, the agreement doesn’t extend to replica shirts, as Adidas already hold the manufacturing and sales rights.
Marka’s vice-chairman, Khaled al-Mheiri, explained that the cross had been removed from the logo due to cultural sensitivities. “We have to be sensitive towards other parts of the Gulf that are quite sensitive to products that hold the cross,” he told Reuters.
Only a small change is required to make the amendment to the logo, as the cross is a minor detail on the very top of the crown. The crown itself was first added in 1920 when King Alfonso XIII gave the club his royal patronage, and was reinstated in 1941 after all royal symbols (including the club’s name, ‘Real’) had been eradicated upon the dissolution of the Spanish monarchy in 1931.
It isn’t the first time los Blancos have altered the club logo, as they made the same change back in 2014 when they allowed the National Bank of Abu Dhabi to use a version of the logo that didn’t include the Christian cross on their Real Madrid-branded credit cards. Club president Florentino Perez explained at the time that the marketing deal “will help the club to win the hearts of fans in this country”.