Chinese rights holders will not broadcast English top-flight matches this weekend because of the Premier League’s league’s planned shows of support for Ukraine.
China is a close political ally of Russia, which has invaded Ukraine and is showing its support for Putin’s regime – albeit in a very small way given the shocking circumstances in the country.
The BBC claims to have learned of the ban on English games following the Premier League giving it has “wholeheartedly rejected Russia’s actions” and is set 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.
The show of support across the weekend games will be massive and is planned to include That will include captains wearing special armbands in Ukrainian colours, stadium screens displaying ‘Football Stands Together’ in front of the country’s blue and yellow flag.
Fans have also been encouraged to join “a moment of reflection and solidarity before kick-off at each game”.
The Premier League chose not to comment when asked by the BBC about the l to show matches. The Premier League rights in China are held by iQiyi Sports which took over last year after the collapse of a deal with PPTV.
The row comes at the same time as the Premier League reviewing its broadcast contracts in Russia.
This week Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said that, with teams demonstrating their support for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, he would “like the Russian people to see the strength of feeling in the Premier League and in English football this weekend”.
He added: “But we are looking at them [the contracts] very closely in terms of suspension or termination, given the current circumstances.”