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Chinese broadcasters reportedly won’t air Premier League matches due to the league’s support of Ukraine.
Sources told the BBC Friday that Chinese rights holders have informed the Premier League they will not air matches on Saturday or Sunday in response to the league’s decision to display its support for Ukraine during those games.
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A spokesperson with the league declined to comment to Fox News on those reports.
Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko of Ukraine, left, hugs Everton’s Vitaliy Mykolenko of Ukraine before an English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Feb. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
“The Premier League and our clubs wholeheartedly reject Russia’s actions and will be showing support for the people of Ukraine at all matches this weekend,” the league said in a statement Wednesday. “We call for peace, and our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted.
“A show of solidarity for Ukraine will be visible at all Premier League matches from Saturday (March 5) to Monday (March 7). This follows the numerous ways in which clubs have already demonstrated their support.”
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According to the statement, club captains for the 20 teams set to play will wear special armbands in Ukraine’s colors. There will also be a moment of “reflection and solidarity” before kickoff, and large video screens at each stadium will say “Football Stands Together” over the colors of Ukraine’s flag.
A screen shows support for Ukraine before an English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Feb. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
“This message of solidarity will also be visible to fans around the world across Premier League digital channels,” the league statement added. “Logos and profiles on those platforms will change to represent the colors of the Ukrainian flag, which will also be displayed across match broadcasts both in the UK and overseas.”
China has opposed economic sanctions placed on Russia in response to Russia’s attacks on Ukraine. The head of China’s banking and insurance regulator said Wednesday it “will not participate in such sanctions, and we will continue to maintain normal economic, trade and financial exchanges with relevant parties.”
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A video screen displays the Ukrainian flag during the English League Cup final soccer match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in London Feb. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said during the FT Business of Sport Summit in London this week that the league’s TV deals with Russian entities are under review.
“We’re looking at (the contracts) very closely in terms of suspension, termination. It’s happening right now. It’s a fast-moving situation,” he said.