Merchandise will not feature traditional club crest in bid to placate target audience.

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Real Madrid will amend its club crest and omit the traditional Christian cross on clothing sold in some Middle East countries under a new regional deal.

Marka, a retailing group in the United Arab Emirates, has been granted rights to “manufacture, distribute and sell Real Madrid products” in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, the company has revealed.

But Marka Vice Chairman Khaled al-Mheiri told Reuters that Real Madrid has produced two versions of the crest for the Middle East market and that they would use the one without the Christian cross due to cultural sensitivities.

“We have to be sensitive towards other parts of the Gulf that are quite sensitive to products that hold the cross,” said al-Mheiri, who owns a Real Madrid cafe in Dubai.

All six of the Gulf Arab countries where Marka will sell and distribute Real Madrid products have a a majority of Muslim citizens.

This isn’t the first time Real Madrid have removed the cross from the official logo. They also did the same in 2014 when they secured a deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Dubai-based airline Emirates is Real Madrid’s main shirt sponsor, whilst the club is also sponsored by Abu Dhabi investment fund.