MANCHESTER: Manchester United is the latest major football entity to tie a knot with Qatar.

The English champions have confirmed two regional deals in the Gulf, one with Commercial Bank of Qatar and one with Emirates NBD Bank.

They have signed five-year deals with each bank which has been designated as ‘official financial services partner’ in its respective country.

The agreements are very different to the overarching sponsorship deal between Barcelona and Qatar Foundation or to the effective Aljazeera ownership of Paris Saint-Germain. However they underline a trend with the continual inroads being made by Gulf states into western European football.

Both anks will have the rights to produce Manchester United branded credit, debit and prepaid cards.  In addition to this, Emirates NBD Bank will also market its own Manchester United Savings Account.

Founded in 1975, CBQ styles itself as one of Qatar’s leading financial services providers while six-year-0ld Emirates NBD group considers itself a ‘market leader across core business lines’ and the ‘leading retail banking franchise in the UAE’.

Richard Arnold, United’s group managing director, said: “We are very pleased to be teaming up with both of these prominent banking groups to offer our fans in Qatar and the UAE another way to support their team.  Both CBQ and Emirates NBD have impressed the Club with their commitment to corporate social responsibility, sharing many of the same core values as Manchester United.

“Collectively, the Club has over a million followers in Qatar and the UAE and we hope that the introduction of the two new partnerships will allow us further to expand the Manchester United family, bringing supporters closer to the team they love.”