A Chinese broadcaster has been ordered to pay the Premier League at least $213m (£156m) by the high court in London over the collapse of one of the competition’s most lucrative international rights agreements.
The league terminated the deal last year after PPTV failed to pay two instalments of the rights fees owed, citing a change to the schedule caused by the 100-day pandemic-enforced pause in fixtures in 2020 and the lack of fans in stadiums when games resumed in June.
Given the season concluded eventually, the judge rejected the arguments made by the streaming service, which is owned by Suning, the Chinese retail giant that also controls the Italian champions Internazionale.
“In many commercial contracts events may transpire other than as anticipated by one, or even both, contracting parties,” Judge Peter Fraser said in a ruling published on Tuesday. “That does not mean that the court will rewrite the parties’ bargain and impose different terms upon them to suit those later events. That is not the function of the law of contract.”
The judge said the league payments of $210.3m and $2.673m should be made by the broadcaster‘s parent company, PPLive Sports International, along with interests and legal costs.
The judge said in his ruling that the broadcaster had even “failed to pay a substantial amount of outstanding legal fees” owed to its lawyers last year.
The Premier League said it welcomed the judgment. “The Premier League will robustly enforce its contractual rights when it has no other option available,” a statement said. “The league notes the judge’s view that PPLive had ‘no real prospect of success’ defending the claim. The bar is high for a summary judgment application and this decision highlights the strength of the league’s case.
“The league will now begin the process of recovering the fees and costs owed by PPLive.” The Guardian