Barcelona renewed its sponsorship with beer brand Estrella Damm for the next four seasons. The club's relationship with Estrella Damm dates back more than 25 years. Under the new agreement, effective from July 1, the brand will become one of Barcelona's global partners, while remaining the official beer of the club (Barcelona).
BAD LOOK: ESPN.com's Gabriele Marcotti wrote Barcelona is "dealing with a PR disaster after the dramatic 5-4 defeat away to Levante" on Sunday and, above all, the decision to "rest" Lionel Messi ahead of a friendly match in South Africa on Wednesday. This is "a situation where optics matter" and from Barcelona's perspective, "they are frankly atrocious." To the world, it looks as if the club "threw away the chance to make history by agreeing to play a friendly match before the end of the season" so that it could "rake in some extra millions" (ESPN.com, 5/14).
CRACKING DOWN: In Madrid, Xavi Hernández reported after a large-scale operation involving 120 club staffers, almost 3,000 Barcelona members "have been suspended" for "falsifying season tickets" for El Clásico. The fraud is "said to have cost the club somewhere in the region" of €1.5M ($1.8M). Barcelona spokesperson Josep Vives said, "It is the largest and most forceful action against fraud and resale that has been carried out" (MARCA, 5/14).