China 'to pull Premier League coverage' over shows of support for Ukraine
China are set to scrap coverage of this weekend's Premier League fixtures
China is poised to pull TV coverage of this weekend's Premier League fixtures because of a planned show of support for Ukraine following the invasion by Russia.
China has close economic and trading ties with Russia, and have not condemned the invasion of Ukraine, choosing instead to abstain from votes in the United Nations.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 2, 2022
China 'to pull Premier League coverage' this weekend over shows of support for Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin gave the order for his troops to cross the Ukrainian border a week ago, despite the move being widely condemned by world leaders.
Since the invasion began, football players and fans have expressed their support for Ukraine at games played across the world.
Building on this, the Premier League announced its own plans to show solidarity ahead of this weekend's round of fixtures.
Club captains are scheduled to wear special armbands in the colours of the Ukrainian flag with all players, coaching staff and supporters urged to take part in a moment of reflection before each game kicks off.
According to Dan Roan, editor of BBC Sport, the Premier League has been informed by its Chinese rights holders that they will respond to the move by pulling TV coverage of all this weekend's games.
NEW | China set to pull TV coverage of Premier League this weekend as a result of planned shows of support for Ukraine at matches
— Dan Roan (@danroan) March 4, 2022
The move would signify another show of support for Putin from China, who have recently denounced the economic sanctions imposed by the UK and EU against Russia in response to the invasion, blaming the United States and its allies for provoking the situation.
At the start of last month, China supported Russia in opposing further Nato expansion after the Russian president held face-to-face meetings with Chinese leader Xi Jinping while on a visit to Beijing for the Winter Olympics.
Putin counts China as a close political ally and a joint statement emphasised the strong relationship that exists between the two leaders.