Barcelona and Rakuten Continue Partnership with Sustainability Initiative

Last weekend saw Rakuten, Inc., parent company of Rakuten Securities, one of the largest FX brokers in Japan, launch a new initiative in conjunction with Barcelona Football Club, a Spanish football team. The ongoing initiative, called ‘Goals Beyond the Game’ will promote sustainability, in line with the seventeen United Nations-backed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The first steps of the initiative saw eleven children, ages 6-9, accompanying Barcelona’s players out on to the pitch for their final game of the season. Wearing SDG-branded jerseys, each child represented one of those seventeen goals, including a call to end poverty and protect the planet.

Unable to resist

Once famous for its refusal to have a shirt-sponsor, Barcelona was unable to turn down Rakuten’s €220 million ($259 million) sponsorship offering in 2016. The deal will last until 2021 with the option to extend it for another year afterward.

Thus far, the partnership seems to have been a fruitful one for both sides. The launch of this new initiative comes just two months after the Japanese firm confirmed it would also be sponsoring FCBEscola, Barcelona’s global network of football schools.

It also comes at a time of increasing activity in the market between FX firms and sports teams. Libertex announced yesterday that it would be continuing its sponsorship deal with James Rodriguez, a Colombian football player.

More damagingly for those involved, last week the president of the Autorité des marchés financiers spoke in harsh terms about FX firms sponsoring football teams. He stated that Plus500, a major FX broker, sells ‘toxic products’ and spoke disparagingly of its partnership with another Spanish football team, Atletico Madrid.

(Photo: Rakuten)

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