Premier League ends deal with Chinese broadcast partner

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The Premier League has ended a £564m contract with its broadcasting partners in China, years ahead of schedule and for no publicly acknowledged reason.

The Premier League is set to bow to pressure and agree to televise all top-flight fixtures while matches are played behind closed doors.

PPTV is owned by Chinese commercial giant Suning Holdings, known in the West for buying majority shares in 2016 of the Italian soccer club Inter Milan.

Before now, the Red Devils have been very quiet in the transfer window and this left their fans infuriated especially with other Premier League heavyweights proving to be very busy in the transfer market.

Streaming service PPTV agreed a reported £524 million (€587m) deal for the right to broadcast all 380 Premier League matches per season from 2019 to 2022.

Ties between the United Kingdom and China have deteriorated in recent months, with the United Kingdom banning telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co and opposing a new security law imposed in Hong Kong.

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"This development is taking place against the backdrop of increasingly sour relations between the United Kingdom and China", said Simon Chadwick, director of the Centre for the Eurasian Sport Industry. "It therefore seems likely that there is some not inconsiderable politicking behind this decision".

It is understood that several clubs, already nervous at the squeeze on their finances, were resistant because they feared the effects on the existing broadcast deals and also on their season-ticket sales.

It remains to be seen whether the Premier League will be able to negotiate a new rights deal in China on similar terms due to challenging economic and political conditions.

Domestic league were however given the option to extend the rule to next season, but majority of the clubs are not keen on the extension.

The Premier League has boosted its popularity in Asia substantially in the past few years, staging pre-season tournaments in the region.

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