Sports

Barcelona says it is considering ending its lucrative shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, right, duels for the ball with Elche's Adrian Gonzalez, left, during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Elche and Barcelona, at the Martinez Valero stadium in Elche, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. Barcelona won the match 6-0.(AP Photo/Fernando Bustamante)

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, right, duels for the ball with Elche's Adrian Gonzalez, left, during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Elche and Barcelona, at the Martinez Valero stadium in Elche, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. Barcelona won the match 6-0.(AP Photo/Fernando Bustamante)  (The Associated Press)

The president of Barcelona says the Spanish club is considering ending its lucrative shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar because of concerns over social issues in the Gulf state.

Josep Maria Bartomeu said in an interview on Catalan radio Tuesday that Barcelona was "looking at alternatives to Qatar," pointing out that the contract ends in 2016.

Bartomeu said "four years ago, we signed for economic reasons," adding that now "other social issues" needed to be taken into consideration.

Barcelona made headlines in Dec. 2010 when it ended its long-standing refusal to wear sponsorship logos on its jerseys by signing a deal worth 30 million euros a year with the Qatar Foundation.