China blocks Premier League coverage as clubs back Ukraine

China will block coverage of this weekend’s Premier League matches with England’s biggest clubs set to show their support for Ukraine. The Premier League has expressed its intention to show solidarity with Ukraine in various ways throughout the 10-match programme, starting with Leicester’s home clash against Leeds United in today’s kick-off. today.

The BBC first reported that Chinese rights holder iQIYI Sports reacted by refusing to show the matches. And although the Premier League declined to comment, it is understood the outage must take place.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit that the league’s Russian TV deal with Rambler was “under review” and could be suspended or terminated soon. However, it is likely that the matches will be broadcast this weekend.

Away from football, the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Andrew Parsons, used his opening speech at the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing to launch an impassioned plea for peace. The Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing began on Saturday, 48 hours after the IPC made a U-turn to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Games rather than allow them to compete as neutrals.

Russia’s Paralympic team returns from China after deciding not to appeal as other countries threatened to stage a massive boycott. “Tonight I want and must start with a message of peace,” Mr Parsons said at the official opening of the Paralympic Games on Friday at Bird’s Nest Stadium.

“As the leader of an organization focused on inclusion, where diversity is celebrated and differences embraced, I am horrified by what is happening in the world right now. The 21st century is a time of dialogue and diplomacy, not war and hatred.

“The Olympic truce for peace during the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a UN resolution. At the IPC, we aspire to a better and more inclusive world, free from discrimination, hatred, ignorance and conflict.

Despite the war in their homeland, Ukraine managed to send a full delegation of 20 athletes and nine guides to Beijing to take their place for Friday’s Parade of Nations. The team won a medal on day one, with biathlete Taras Rad taking silver behind China’s Zixu Liu.

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