Sat. Aug 13th, 2022

English football’s top flight will terminate the agreement three months early

The Premier League will terminate its $8 million-per-year deal with Russian TV broadcasters three months early, reports have claimed.

The Telegraph says that the English top flight’s lawyers have given executives the green light to tear up the agreement with Rambler Media ahead of schedule, with feeds to Russia cut in the next 24 hours amid its military operation in Ukraine.

Russians were able to watch Premier League matches over the weekend including the derby between Manchester City and Manchester United, which finished 4-1 to Pep Guardiola’s men, via Okko Sport.

Moving forward, however, it is expected that the Premier League will no longer be shown in Russia ahead of agreements with Match TV and Football-TV expiring in June, and the EFL is also expected to axe its Russian deal too with clubs “certain” to give their permission for the development to come to fruition on Tuesday.

Furthermore, the Football Association will also reportedly freeze its contract which has the world’s oldest cup competition, the FA Cup, shown in Russia.

Manchester City’s 4-1 win over Manchester City could be one of the last Premier League games to be enjoyed by viewers in Russia. © Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Getty Images

Okko Sport are believed to have paid around $8.2million per year for the rights to show the Premier League on their streaming platform and are owned by Sberbank, which also runs Rambler Media. 

Sberbank is a state-owned company and was recently named on the UK’s list of sanctioned Russian entities complicating matters further.

The move to end the agreement with Russian TV broadcasters comes after Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit that broadcast deals in Russia were “under review”.

“Clearly broadcast contracts in Russia are under review,” Masters stated. “We’re looking at suspension or termination.”

“It’s happening now. We’re looking at a fast-moving situation,” he added.

Read more

© Tnani Badreddine / DeFodi Images via Getty Images
Russians lose Messi as France cuts broadcasts

Elsewhere in Europe, the French Professional Football League (LFP) has already suspended its three-year contract with Match TV which was penned last August for the exclusive rights to show Ligue 1 and the games of teams such as Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint Germain.

In Spain, however, where Messi made his name at FC Barcelona, La Liga has opted to continue the broadcast partnership it has in Russia with Telesport.

There are currently no Russian players plying their trade in the Premier League amid International Olympic Committee (IOC) advice to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competition that has been heeded by a number of federations such as FIFA and UEFA.

But there could soon be an influx of foreign Russian Premier League players in its English counterpart given a unique ruling by the global football governing body on Monday.

As confirmed through a statement, FIFA said that foreign players and coaches currently based in Russia now have the right to unilaterally suspend their contracts until the end of June if a mutual agreement with their club hasn’t been reached by the end of Thursday this week.

“Players and coaches will be considered ‘out of contract’ until June 30 2022 and will therefore be at liberty to sign a contract with another club without facing consequences of any kind,” FIFA confirmed.

As part of the move, new signings must be registered on or before April 7 and new clubs are limited to a maximum of two players each.