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Premier League set to end Russian broadcast deal, Lewandowski drops Huawei

Premier League set to end Russian broadcast deal, Lewandowski drops Huawei

FOOTBALL: The Premier League is set to cancel its television broadcast contracts in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, according to reports yesterday (Mar 7).

FootballPremier-LeagueUkraine
By AFP

Tuesday 8 March 2022, 09:02AM


A “Football Stands Together” message is displayed in the colours of the Ukrainian flag before the Manchester derby on Sunday (Mar 6). Photo: Oli Scarff / AFP

A “Football Stands Together” message is displayed in the colours of the Ukrainian flag before the Manchester derby on Sunday (Mar 6). Photo: Oli Scarff / AFP

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters last week said the current deal with Russia was “under review” due to the invasion.

Reports from Sky Sports and the Daily Telegraph claimed lawyers have been told to start the process of ending broadcast agreements with Russian partners.

An announcement is expected to come in the next few days confirming the contract cancellation, although the Premier League declined to comment on the situation yesterday.

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

That deal is reportedly worth around £6 million (B260mn) per year to the Premier League.

Match TV, owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom, is due to start a six-year deal from 2022-23.

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

The English Football League, comprising the Championship and Leagues One and Two, is also expected to end its broadcast deal with Russia.

Lewandowski drops sponsor Huawei amid Ukraine crisis

CBRE Phuket

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich’s Polish international striker Robert Lewandowski has cut ties with sponsor Huawei amid claims the Chinese tech giant has been helping Russia secure their network against cyber attacks following the invasion of Ukraine.

“We have taken the decision today to end the marketing cooperation between Robert Lewandowski and the Huawei brand,” the footballer’s agent Tomasz Zawislak said in a statement to AFP, without specifying the reason for the break.

“Therefore the implementation of all promotional services has been suspended on our part,” Zawislak added.

According to Polish media, the decision is linked to an article in the British daily Daily Mail accusing Huawei of having helped Russia secure its internet against attacks by pro-Ukrainian hackers.

The Chinese group confirmed the end of their partnership with Lewandowski in a very brief statement.

“Huawei CBG Poland regrets the end of its partnership with Robert Lewandowski. We appreciate our years of cooperation and wish him every success in the future,” Huawei said in an email to AFP.

The Polish branch of the Chinese group dismissed the newspaper reports as “fake news”.

Lewandowski has voiced his support for the people of neighbouring Ukraine following the Russian invasion, wearing an armband in the Ukrainian colours during a match.

“The world cannot accept what is happening there. I hope the whole world will support Ukraine,” said FIFA’s Best Men’s Player of 2020 and 2021.

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