The move comes as part of a deal with UAE retail group Marka which has won exclusive rights to “manufacture, distribute and sell Real Madrid products” in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.
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The original club crest features a Christian cross at the top of a crown but Marka vice vhairman Khaled al-Mheiri said a redesigned version without the cross would be used in the region 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
Mr al-Mheiri, who also owns a Real Madrid-themed cafe in Dubai, said: “We have to be sensitive towards other parts of the Gulf that are quite sensitive to products that hold the cross.”The six Gulf Arab countries where Marka will sell and distribute Real Madrid products are all Muslim-majority.The agreement allows Marka to sell clothing such as t-shirts, polo shirts and swim wear featuring the Real Madrid name and crest.
GETTY Gareth Bale is one of the stars of the Real Madrid team
The deal does not cover replica jerseys which are sold in Dubai featuring the cross.This is not the first time the symbol has been altered.In 2014, Real Madrid removed the Christian cross from its crest when used by its sponsor the National Bank of Abu Dhabi .
GETTY Real Madrid are dropping the Christian cross from sportswear sold in the Middle East
Dubai-based airline Emirates is Real Madrid’s main shirt sponsor, whilst the club is also sponsored by Abu Dhabi investment fund IPIC.Real Madrid were the highest revenue generating football club in the world for more than a decade but recently lost that position to Manchester United.