La Liga Will Erase Anti-War Messaging From Its Chinese Broadcasts, Report Suggests – Forbes

Anti-war signs in Spain and elsewhere have become commonplace since Russia began invading Ukraine.
In a bid to satisfy lucrative Chinese broadcasters, La Liga has decided to exclude its anti-war messages from its transmissions in the Asian country amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, as per Sports Illustrated. As most of the world condemns Russia’s attacks, China has not mirrored quite the same stance.
Unlike the Spanish top-flight, the Premier League will continue to air peace-related language and signs, which has led to China blocking its English top-flight coverage for now, at least.
La Liga will keep showing the same content elsewhere—including Russia—although its broadcasters could edit the output, according to New York Times journalist Tariq Panja. Chinese broadcasters’ plans for other top European leagues are currently unclear.
The Spanish league’s decision is financially logical and protects its relationship with the Chinese market. Before the coronavirus pandemic arrived, Chinese company DDMC agreed to pay La Liga €100 million ($109 million) each season to show matches, as the Financial Times reported at the time, demonstrating its strong interest in Spanish soccer.
Contrastingly undeterred, the Premier League is now arguably better positioned than La Liga. It has remained steadfast over its line, no matter the location, remaining sure of its value and values, even if that means a fractured relationship with Chinese clients.
Chinese television has taken a strong stance before. In 2019, it decided to remove an Arsenal fixture from its schedule after then-midfielder Mesut Özil—also formerly of Real Madrid—condemned the country’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims.
There is, unsurprisingly, Chinese interest in La Liga. Wu Lei, who plays for Espanyol, is China’s prominent star there. Not only that, he’s the country’s only active representative in the top league and competes for minutes alongside Raúl de Tomás—a regular starter for the team. In keeping with Espanyol, the Catalan side’s owner and the president is Chinese businessman Chen Yansheng.
Wu Lei moved from Shanghai Port to Espanyol in 2019.
The state of play between European soccer and politics is not confined to broadcasting. Abroad, long-standing Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has put the London club up for sale following alleged suspicions raised over his links to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, German side Schalke has terminated its sponsorship deal with Gazprom; incidentally, Serbian outfit Red Star Belgrade looks likely to continue its connection with the Russian energy giant.
In the La Liga sphere, Ukrainian defender Vasyl Kravets—who plays for second division Sporting Gijón—says he’s prepared to defend his country during the war. A league above, Real Madrid’s second-choice goalkeeper Andry Lunin is recieving support from his employer as the crisis continues.


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