A UAE-based clothing firm has said it will remove a small Christian cross from the club crest of Real Madrid, after signing exclusive rights to manufacture and sell the football club’s products in the GCC.
Khaled al-Mheiri, the vice chairman of Marka, told the Reuters news agency that the religious symbol was a culturally “sensitive issue” in Gulf states.
“We have to be sensitive to parts of the Gulf that are sensitive to products that hold the cross,” said al-Mheiri, who owns a Real Madrid cafe in Dubai.
The redesigning of the crest would require only a minor change with the original featuring a very small Christian cross at the top of a crown on the crest, he said.
The agreement allows Marka to sell clothing such as t-shirts, polo shirts and swim wear featuring the Real Madrid name and crest, al-Mheiri said.
The deal does not cover replica jerseys, which are sold in Dubai featuring the cross.
Real Madrid did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment, but it 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.
Dubai-based airline Emirates is Real Madrid’s main shirt sponsor, whilst the club is also sponsored by Abu Dhabi investment fund IPIC.