FC Barcelona's plans to join the NWSL is in the balance due to a stumbling block related to the Spanish club's record $174m-per-year sponsorship deal with Nike.
The NWSL currently has a league-wide partnership with Nike which would be perfect for the Catalan giants except for the fact it ends at the end of this year.
If another major sportswear brand come on board as the new technical supplier, Barcelona would not be allowed to where their Nike kit in the NWSL eventhough the deal for both the men’s and women’s teams runs until 2023.
Barcelona's US office managing director Xavier O’Callaghan made it clear at the 2019 Sports Decision Makers Summit in Miami that the team would not look to join the nine-team NWSL if they are unable to honour their deal with Nike.
He said: “We don’t want to share our brand. We are very protective of the ways we present ourselves. We want to use our crest, our colours and our sponsors. Otherwise this will dilute the brand.
“We have a long-term partnership with Nike and we have to play with Nike. If the NWSL changes to a different brand, then we have a problem.
“It’s not so easy to do it, to make it real. We are asking for a sponsorship exemption – but it is not in our hands.
“We believe we can boost the competition but if there is no way to do it then will not take part in it.