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English Premier League and EFL suspend Russian TV broadcast deals

The Premier League and EFL have suspended their broadcast deals in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, with the Premier League also pledging £1m to the Disasters Emergency Committee to deliver humanitarian aid.

The Premier League’s decision, taken at a shareholders’ meeting in London on Tuesday, followed league-wide support for Ukraine over the weekend, where club captains wore special armbands and messages were displayed on big screens.

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In a statement explaining its decision, the Premier League also said it “strongly condemned” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “We call for peace and our thoughts are with all those impacted,” it said. “The £1m donation will be made to the Disasters Emergency Committee to deliver humanitarian aid directly to those in need.”

The EFL quickly followed suit, saying it remained “deeply concerned” by the conflict and would make an unspecified donation to the DEC.

The news means that Russians will no longer be able to watch Premier League games on Okko Sport, and EFL matches on Football TV, iFollow and other streaming services will be cut.

The Guardian understands the Football Association is in talks aimed at stopping Match TV from showing FA Cup games in Russia on 19 and 20 March. The FA does not have a direct contract with Russian TV, having sold the rights to the competition in 2016 to IMG.

Meanwhile the court of arbitration for sport has confirmed that the Russian Federation has filed appeals against the decision to ban its clubs and the national team from international competition. In a statement Cas confirmed that a decision would be taken in a “few days’ time”.

But culture ministers from 37 countries, including Britain and the US, have published an open letter calling for strict sanctions across the sporting world as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

The statement, which followed a virtual summit convened by the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, and sports minister, Nigel Huddleston, called on Russia and Belarus to be banned from hosting or bidding for any international sporting events.

It also said that individual athletes selected by Russia and Belarus, as well as teams representing the Russian or Belarusian state, should be banned from competing in other countries.

“Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war of choice against Ukraine, enabled by the Belarusian government, is abhorrent and a flagrant breach of its international obligations,” the statement said. “Respect for human rights and peaceful relations between nations form the foundation of international sport.”

Fifa confirmed that Poland, who had been due to play Russia in a play-off, would receive a bye to a final against Sweden or the Czech Republic. The Guardian

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