The new deal will see Qatar Foundation's name placed alongside the existing UNICEF logo on Barcelona's shirts  [AFP]

Barcelona have signed a $218m shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation, the non-profit organisation concerned primarily with education projects in the Middle East.

The deal ends Barcelona's 111-year-old history of refusing commercial shirt sponsorships.

The total value of the five-and-a-half year deal, announced by the Catalan club on Friday, could rise to $224m.

The club will get $19.7 million for the second half of this season, $39.5 million for each of the following five seasons, and up to $6.5 million in bonuses for titles won.

Barca will place the Qatar Foundation name on their shirts alongside the existing logo for UN children's agency UNICEF, which they have sported for the five years while forgoing the riches of commercial sponsors.

The Qatar Foundation was set up in 1995 by the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar,  to foster education, scientific research and community development in Qatar, the Middle East and beyond.

Qatar, the tiny energy-rich Gulf Arab country, was picked by FIFA on December 2 to host the 2022 World Cup.

Despite success on the field, Barcelona are struggling financially.

The club posted a loss of $104.96m last season and have debts of $582m.

Source: Agencies