SportsWorld

Premier League suspends broadcast deal with Russia because of Ukraine invasion

The Premier League has suspended its broadcast deal with Russia following the country’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The move will take effect immediately, meaning Thursday’s four matches will not be shown in the country.

The matter took only 15 minutes of a four-hour meeting of all 20 clubs in London on Tuesday to agree.

The English top flight also says it will donate £1m to support the people of Ukraine.

The TV rights for the Premier League were owned by the Rambler Group. The company was in its final year of a three-year deal to show matches in Russia.

In a separate move, the Football Association has also suspended its deal with Russia.

That means none of this month’s FA Cup quarter-final matches will be shown.

The Premier League says it condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that its clubs unanimously agreed the move.

“We call for peace and our thoughts are with all those impacted,” the Premier League said in a statement.

“The £1m donation will be made to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to deliver humanitarian aid directly to those in need.”

Last weekend, Premier League clubs showed solidarity with Ukraine as captains wore special armbands in Ukrainian colours, while stadium screens displayed ‘Football Stands Together’ in front of the country’s blue and yellow flag.

It is understood there will be no repeat of the pro-Ukraine branding that took place around last weekend’s games. However, clubs have been cleared to produce their own response if they wish.

The English Football League (EFL) says it has also suspended broadcast feeds of its matches in Russia.

“Echoing the views of the Premier League and other organisations around the world, the EFL remains deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict,” the EFL said in a statement.

“As has been demonstrated at EFL grounds around the country, ‘Football Stands Together’ with the people of Ukraine and all those impacted.”

Last weekend Chinese rights holders did not broadcast Premier League matches in their country, which is a close political ally of Russia.

In response to the Premier League’s announcement, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said it was “absolutely the right thing to do”.

He said in a statement: “We fully support the Premier League’s decision to stop broadcasting matches in Russia in response to Putin’s barbaric, senseless invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia cannot be allowed to legitimise its illegal war through sport and culture, and we must work together to ensure Putin remains a pariah on the international stage.”

Meanwhile, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said it had received an appeal by the Football Union of Russia against its ban from competitions.

On 28 February, Russian football clubs and national teams were suspended from all competitions “until further notice” by world football’s governing body Fifa and European governing body Uefa.

However, ministers from 37 nations have called for further international sporting sanctions on Russia and its ally Belarus.

The strongly-worded statement follows a virtual meeting convened by Huddleston and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries on 3 March.

Among the signatories are France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Source: BBC

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