China to cancel premier league coverage due to support for Ukraine

Chinese rights holders have told the Premier League they will not be broadcasting English top matches this weekend due to planned demonstrations of support for Ukraine

 

China is a close political ally of Russia, which has invaded Ukraine.

The Premier League said it “completely rejects Russia’s actions” and is expected to show solidarity with Ukraine

“We call for peace and our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted,” it added, when announcing its plans earlier this week.

These will be, among others, captains wearing special armbands in Ukrainian colors, and the words “Football Stands Together” will appear on the stadium screens in front of the blue and yellow flag of the country.

Fans were also encouraged to “give a moment of reflection and solidarity before the start of each game.”

When asked about the Chinese refusal to show matches, the Premier League declined to comment.

The Premier League rights in China are held by iQiyi Sports, which was acquired last year after a deal with PPTV fell through.

The row comes with the Premier League reviewing its broadcasting deals in Russia.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said this week that with teams showing their support for Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion, he “would like the Russian people to see the strength of feeling in the Premier League and in England this weekend football sees”.

He added: “But we are looking at them very closely in terms of suspension or termination, given the current circumstances.”