Qatar Airways has been named the official title sponsor of the Football Club Barcelona’s Asia Tour 2013 to be held in Thailand and Malaysia next month. The Spanish club will be making their first ever appearance in Malaysia and returning to Thailand for the first time since 2002. The exhibition games will give FC Barcelona football fans in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur an opportunity to see the Spanish La Liga Champions in action when they take on the Thai national team in Bangkok on August 7, and an all-star team of the Malaysian League’s best players in Kuala Lumpur three days later on August 10, a Qatar Airways media statement said Monday. The matches will be held in Rajamangala National Stadium Bangkok and Bukit Jalil National Stadium Kuala Lumpur. To help bring Qatar Airways’ 1.2 million Facebook fans closer to the ‘Blaugrana’, the airline has launched a contest giving a few lucky fans the chance to win a trip of a lifetime to watch the best footballers in the world in action. Facebook fans can sign up for a chance to win great prizes, from signed T-shirts to VIP tickets to one of the games, to an invitation to meet two players during a private autograph session. The contest runs until July 31. Fans can find more information on Qatar Airways’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/qatarairways With over 43 million fans worldwide, FC Barcelona is the most liked team, of any sport, on Facebook, with the majority of their fans based in Southeast Asia. Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said it was only natural that the airline supported its new partner in a region that has such a large fan base for both organisations. “Qatar Airways and FC Barcelona both have a large and loyal fan base in Southeast Asia,” said Al Baker. “We have been flying to the region for over 12 years, and are continuing to expand at a rapid rate. We are pleased to work with our new sports partner FC Barcelona, to take the tour to a region with the most Barca fans in the world. FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell said, “We are pleased that the club is returning to Asia this summer with Qatar Airways, our travelling companion from July 1. We very much look forward to seeing our Thai friends again and returning to their country for the first time in more than 10 years. “This tour will also enable us to visit Malaysia for the first time, where we know we have a lot of dedicated supporters. We want to feel close to them, especially the children, and for them to enjoy the team and our players, and get to know our club better, a club unlike any other in the world, and also our country. We thank Qatar Airways for the chance to visit these fans that have dreamed for long to see our players live.” The airline will launch new routes to Chengdu in China and Clark International Airport in the Philippines later this year. The current routes connect passengers with Qatar’s capital city of Doha to scores of destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas, the statement added.