Clothing firm removes Real Madrid cross for Middle East

The club's world-famous crest carries a religious icon on top of the royal crown, but it will no longer be present on apparel sold in the Gulf region

Real Madrid's iconic club badge has undergone a makeover in the Middle East, with the cross within removed in order to protect sensibilities in the region. 

The crest in its current incarnation dates back to 1920, where a crown was added in order to reflect the royal patronage bestowed by King Alfonso XIII in that year. 

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While Madrid dropped the crown during the Spanish Republic that began in 1931, it was reinstated in 1941 after General Francisco Franco's victory in the Civil War. 

But United Arab Emirates-based clothing firm Marka has announced it will remove a small cross that sits on top of the crown due to its association with the Christian faith. 

"We have to be sensitive to parts of the Gulf that are sensitive to products that hold the cross," said Khalid al-Mheiri, vice-chariman of Marka, who hold a license to sell Madrid-related apparel in the Gulf region.

Al-Mheiri clarified that the redesign was limited solely to the cross, while replica jerseys that are sold in Dubai with the original badge will not be altered. 

It is not the first time that the club's crest has been subject to scrutiny in the Middle East. 

In 2014, Madrid removed the cross from their badge when it was used by a sponsor, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.