Premier League will insert pro-Ukraine adverts during TV coverage of matches this weekend and are considering a TV ban in Russia – as well as axing a new £41m six-year deal due to start next season
- The Premier League are set to put out pro-Ukraine and anti-war messages
- This is in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine
- They will also consult clubs over ending their broadcast deal with Russia
The Premier League plan to insert pro-Ukraine and anti-war messages into TV coverage of their matches beamed to Russia this weekend before asking the clubs if they should stop broadcasting in the country next week.
Premier League executives have been talking to the Government about their Russian TV contracts all week and have decided to take the unusual step of making a political and humanitarian stand by outlining opposition to the Russian invasion, as well as calling for peace.
The Premier League’s TV messages on their international feed in Russia have been designed to inform the domestic audience of the strength of feeling regarding the military offensive in Ukraine, and will be in addition to the various in-ground measures that have already been announced.
Club captains will wear yellow and blue armbands and the big screens at stadiums will display the words ‘Football Stands Together’ against a backdrop of the Ukrainian flag.
Players showed support for Ukraine last weekend and are set to continue with this stance
The Premier League are considering stopping broadcasting in Russia altogether next week, with a decision to be made at a meeting of the clubs next Tuesday.
The top flight’s Russian TV deal is with Rambler Media, which is owned by state-owned Sberbank, but only had three months left to run and this season’s £6million rights fees have already been paid in full so the clubs’ discussion will focus on ethical rather than commercial considerations.
A new six-year, £41m TV contract with Match TV is due to kick in next season and that could also be cancelled as the broadcaster are owned by Gazprom Media, who are ultimately owned by the state bank Gazprombank.
Richard Masters says the Premier League are reviewing their contracts with Russia
While the figures involved are significant they represent only a fraction of the Premier League’s combined £5billion overseas rights deals so talks next week will revolve around what is best for the Russian people rather than the clubs’ finances.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told the Financial Times’ Business of Football Summit: ‘With regards to our broadcast contracts in Russia, clearly they 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.’