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Premier League suspends TV deal with Russian broadcaster over Ukraine invasion

The Premier League has taken the decision to suspend a deal with Match TV (Peter Byrne/PA)
The Premier League has taken the decision to suspend a deal with Match TV (Peter Byrne/PA)

The Premier League has suspended its six-year deal with Russian broadcaster Match TV, the PA news agency understands.

The previous deal with Russian media group Rambler was suspended in March after its country’s invasion of Ukraine and a new contract with Match TV, reported to be worth £43million, had been set in place to cover the next six seasons.

But with the conflict in Ukraine showing no signs of easing, the Premier League announced at its annual general meeting in Harrogate that the new deal has been put on hold.

Leeds United v Aston Villa – Premier League – Elland Road
The Premier League has suspended Match TV’s six-season deal (Naomi Baker/PA)

No timeframe has been placed on when the suspension will be lifted and the matter was not voted on by the top-flight clubs before the announcement, the PA news agency understands.

The League’s previous contract with Rambler expired at the end of the 2021/22 season.

Also at the annual meeting, top-flight clubs unanimously voted to maintain the current £30 cap on away ticket prices for the next three seasons and include this in the Premier League Rules.

A League statement read: “The price cap was introduced in the 2016/17 season after the successful implementation of the Premier League Away Supporters’ Initiative, where clubs provided a range of measures for their away fans.

“The level of the cap (£30) will be reviewed in 2025, when it will have been in place for nine seasons.

“All clubs recognise the crucial importance of supporters in generating the best possible atmosphere at matches and acknowledge the additional travel costs often involved when following a team away from home.

“It was also agreed today to include an away ticket price cap within the Premier League Rules for the first time.”

Clubs also approved an action plan aimed at improving the League’s “collective offer for fans”.

Brentford fans
The Premier League has agreed to hold the price of tickets for away fans at £30 (John Walton/PA)

The League said: “As part of this commitment, clubs have endorsed the introduction of Fan Advisory Boards, and to nominate a board-level official to be responsible for the club’s fan engagement activities.”

Clubs also supported the “development and introduction” of a new Fan Engagement Standard, “which will build on the existing high-quality fan activity that happens at many clubs”.

The League added: “This will set a new minimum level of engagement across the League, with performance assessed by an independent panel.

“Fans are the lifeblood of the game and are essential to their clubs, these new standards will ensure long-term meaningful engagement with supporters.”

The Premier League has also announced measures to clamp down on pitch invasions, pyrotechnics and missiles being thrown.

As a result, visiting clubs will now have to provide stewards for away matches in order to improve safety for fans and give support to the home club.

“Supporters must be reminded it is illegal to enter the pitch at any time. In addition, we have seen an increase in the use of pyrotechnics and missiles, both of which are not only a criminal offence, but can cause serious injury,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.

“These type of incidents must stop and new measures for next season will make that clear – the League fully supports club and football-wide bans for offenders.

“Crowd behaviour is an issue we and our clubs are addressing as a matter of urgency, in collaboration with partners and relevant authorities.”