TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China's state broadcaster CCTV has removed coverage of English Premier League soccer matches due to political clashes between Beijing and the U.K.
On Thursday (July 23), CCTV shifted a match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC from its main sports channel to one with fewer viewers, which was a change to the published schedule. The final round of the season's matches, expected to take place this weekend, no longer appears on CCTV's schedule.
An individual familiar with the decision, speaking on condition of anonymity, said CCTV will not air the remainder of the season. Without explaining the reason for the cancellations, the individual said the move was carried out Thursday and it was unclear if the new season in September would be affected, reported CNA.
The move comes amid deteriorating relations between China and the U.K. after the latter made the decision to ban the Chinese telecom giant Huawei and criticize the Chinese regime for implementing the Hong Kong national security law. Scholars have warned that retaliation from the Chinese government was inevitable following the Huawei ban, according to The Australian.
CCTV's ban on Premiership soccer broadcasts is not the first incident of foreign sports being dragged into global politics by the Chinese government. In October 2019, CCTV suspended its NBA broadcasts after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey voiced his support for Hong Kong anti-extradition protesters on Twitter and has not resumed coverage since then, reported Bloomberg.