PREMIER League clubs have scrapped a £564m deal with a Chinese broadcaster – because they haven’t received a penny for last term.
PPTV, owned by the Suning corporation – the owners of Inter Milan – have refused to pay the £160m owed for the first season of a three-year deal.
Former Inter Milan chairman Erick Thohir, right, with chairman of Suning holding group Zhang Jindong[/caption]
The deal was the most lucrative of the Prem’s overseas contracts when it was agreed.
PPTV are understood to have cited the three-month shutdown caused by the Covid-19 crisis to justify their stance.
The Chinese company instead suggested a new three-year contract, taking their derail up to the end of the 2024-25 season.
It was also suggested that tensions between China and the UK government, highlighted by the decision to rescind the award of 5G licenses to Huawei, were another factor.
But Prem clubs were alerted to PPTV also failing to meet its obligations to Germany’s Bundesliga.
The suspicion was that PPTV might be unable to meet any terms going forward.
The issue was seen as a pressing one and was the first thing to be voted on at the virtual meeting of the 20 shareholder clubs.
Clubs collectively backed League bosses and a statement was issued which said: “The Premier League confirms that it has today terminated its agreements for Premier League coverage in China with its license in that territory.
Inter Milan president Zhang Kangyang looks on during a clash against Sevilla[/caption]
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“The Premier League will not be commenting further on the matter at this stage.”
It means League bosses can now formally begin the search for a new broadcast partner in China, where fans will be unable to watch Prem games legally when the season starts next weekend unless a deal is found.
While Prem chiefs were tightlipped at scrapping a deal which effectively writes off £8m for each club last term, PPTV appeared to blame the impact of Covid-19 – and confirmed negotiations ended in acrimony and disagreement.
In a statement, PPTV said: “The pandemic produced challenges which are reflected in our negotiation.
“We were asked for an excessive payment for the rights, as per the contract.
“The two sides fail to reach an agreement on the price.”