03 March 2022

Premier League reviewing TV rights deal in Russia

03 March 2022

The Premier League is looking at the suspension or termination of its Russian television deal following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Richard Masters, the league’s chief executive, said its agreements were “under review”.

The Russian rights for the current season are owned by a company called Rambler, and broadcast on streaming platform Okko.

Match TV – owned by energy giant Gazprom – is then set to start a six-year deal from 2022-23.

Commercial deals with Russia in all sectors are under scrutiny at the moment, and Masters told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit in London: “With regards to our broadcast contracts in Russia, clearly they’re under review.”

Premier League clubs are set to show their support for the people of Ukraine at this weekend’s matches.

“I’d like the Russian people to see the strength of feeling in the Premier League and in English football this weekend,” Masters added.

“We’re looking at (the contracts) very closely in terms of suspension, termination. It’s happening right now. It’s a fast-moving situation.”

Masters was asked whether the fact that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is potentially facing sanctions from the UK Government made a mockery of the league’s owners’ and directors’ test.

Roman Abramovich has put Chelsea up for sale (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

“I don’t think so. The test has been under a lot of scrutiny for the last 12 months and we’re looking at it again,” he said.

“As part of our process in responding to the fan-led review we’re looking at whether more tests need to be added, whether we need to be more transparent about those decisions and whether independent scrutiny really needs to be put on top of it.”

Asked whether there could be a human rights element in the future, Masters said: “We have had some helpful conversations with Amnesty International about those sort of things. I’m not going to say how it should change yet, because really it should be one test for football.”

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