China stops premier league coverage over political messages
Chinese broadcasters will not be airing Premier League games this weekend over political messages related to the Ukraine crisis.
The Chinese rights holders of the English Premier League will not be broadcasting the matches set for this weekend, according to schedules, with the games expected to showcase an anti-Russian narrative following the Russian special military operation in Ukraine.
Beijing has not been taking a hardline stance when it comes to the Ukraine crisis, though they have refused to condemn Russia's acts during the denazification of Ukraine.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian leader Vladimir Putin had underlined during the kick-off of the Beijing Olympics last month that their friendship had no limits.
The Winter Olympics were a great opportunity for Moscow and Beijing to grow deeper ties with Russia underlining its support for China after the West, spearheaded by the US, tried to boycott the Olympics for political reasons, citing "human rights abuses", though they did not stop their athletes from competing.
Russia slammed the decision, as Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "the Olympic Games should be free of politics."
Visiting world leaders for the Beijing Winter Olympics included the presidents of Russia, Poland, and Serbia, as well as the heads of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, with several other world leaders amid the western boycott.
Putin and Moscow were prominent backers of China, repeatedly calling for isolating sporting events from politics, but the West insisted on following that doctrine.
This weekend, Premier League club captains are expected to wear armbands in the colors of Ukraine and take part in a moment of reflection and solidarity ahead of kick-off, The Guardian reported.
Two Chinese rights holders for the league - streaming platforms iQiyi Sports and Migu - do not plan on airing the matches this weekend.
It is noteworthy that the Premier League is known for not tolerating any politicization of its events, but it is not prohibiting the display of "support" for Ukraine.
Solidarity with #Ukraine is being shown across stadiums worldwide, breaking the sports no-politics doctrine.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) February 28, 2022
On the other hand, athletes and football clubs were fined and even punished for showing support for #Palestine.
Who's politicizing the matter? #Russia pic.twitter.com/GVZ6Sxjyfl
Russia had for months been warning of the threat posed against it by NATO's attempts to expand eastward, which happened simultaneously with an increase in NATO military activity along Russia's borders, and batches of lethal weapons being sent to Ukraine, prompting Russia to request security guarantees from the West. Washington failed to provide the guarantees.
After the West did not respond to Russia's demands, and amid Ukrainian shelling on the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, President Vladimir Putin initiated a special military operation in Donbass.