Ligue 1 announced the termination of the broadcasting rights deal the French league had with Match TV in Russia.
As a consequence, Ligue 1 matches with Messi, Mbappe and Neymar in Paris Saint-Germain’s shirt, will not be available to fans in Russia starting next season. Other major leagues around Europe, including the Premier League, are considering a similar decision to the one taken by the French decision-makers.
Match TV is owned by natural gas giant Gazprom. The company has just been stripped of multi-million contracts around Europe in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including their long-standing partnership with UEFA. Match TV had bought the rights to show Ligue 1 games over the next six years, starting this summer. Right now, the Ligue 1 matches are streamed in Russia on a platform called Okko, a service owned by Rambler.
Russian national teams at all levels, including clubs, have been eliminated from all international competitions by FIFA and UEFA. The Russians hope to change the decision and they appealed to the Court of Arbitration in Sport.
If the Court’s decision will not be in their favor, Russia will lose any chance of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar this year. They were supposed to be involved in playoff matches at the end of March.