According to rumors, the Premier League is about to pull the plug on their lucrative £6 million-a-year arrangement with Russian television broadcasters, three months ahead of schedule.
Lawyers have given management the go-ahead to rip up the remaining time on the top-agreement flights with Rambler Media, according to The Telegraph. In the next 24 hours, feeds to Russia are expected to be terminated.
Premier League Cutting Ties with Russian Transmission
Following Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine, influential companies and brands have aimed to retaliate, with the Premier League deciding to cut off broadcasting inside the country as a result of their violence.
Over the weekend, footage from the top flight was screened in Moscow, with a ‘Football Stands Together’ graphic displayed over the match clock during Okko Sport’s coverage of the Manchester derby.
The EFL is also expected to cancel their contracts, with clubs ‘certain’ to give consent for the dramatic move to take place by tomorrow at the latest. This year, their contracts with Match TV and Football-TV were slated to expire.
Planning to Freeze Other Contracts
The Football Association is also planning to freeze its FA Cup contracts. Sberbank, the Russian state-owned bank that owns Rambler, was recently added to the UK’s list of sanctioned Russian businesses. They were also targeted by US sanctions, which hampered their capacity to conduct international business and resulted in their expulsion from the SWIFT payment system.
All Russian banks will be subjected to a ‘complete asset freeze’ within days, according to UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Clive Efford, a member of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee, and Chris Bryant, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, have both asked the authorities to cancel their football television arrangements.
The pre-match displays of support for Ukraine were not televised yesterday by Okko Sport, a streaming provider that has the rights in Russia, despite the anti-war image being presented, provoking people to complain about social media.
Football Stands Together
However, the company answered that they obtained their image directly from a provider and were unable to remedy the matter. They are owned by Sberbank, the same company that controls Rambler, and are thought to have paid $8.2 million (£6.2 million) per year for their rights.
‘Since the signal is transmitted by the copyright holder, the display of this sentence was done by the broadcast signal copyright holder,’ an Okko Sports spokeswoman stated when asked about the messaging during the derby.
A similar ‘Football Stands Together’ message appeared online for players of the top-Fantasy flight’s Premier League game in Russia, this time in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. The game is thought to have over eight million users globally, and despite efforts to isolate Russia, the platform is still available in Russia.