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LEGAL BATTLE: Foreign broadcaster ordered to pay £157 million

LEGAL BATTLE: Foreign broadcaster ordered to pay £157 million

PA - John Walton


A High Court judge says a foreign broadcaster must pay nearly £157 million it owes to the Premier League.

Mr Justice Fraser, who is based in London, ruled on a dispute between Premier League bosses and PPLive Sports International, which is based in the Hong Kong Special Administration Region of China, on Tuesday, following a hearing in November.

The judge said a dispute arose after Premier League bosses entered into contracts under which PPL obtained rights to show both live and delayed Premier League football matches, plus highlights, in China.

He said the deal was due to run for three seasons starting in 2019-2020.

Premier League bosses, who terminated agreements in September 2020, said they were owed two instalment payments totalling nearly £157 million (nearly 213 million US dollars).

The judge ruled in their favour.

In September 2020, the Premier League issued a statement saying bosses had terminated agreements for Premier League coverage in China with its “licensee in that territory”.

Mr Justice Fraser ruled that the Premier League was entitled to a “summary judgment” – without a trial.

He said summary judgments are granted when a judge concludes a defendant has “no real prospect” of defending a claim.

The judge concluded that “none of the defences advanced” by PPLive had anything other than ”fanciful prospects of success”.

He said Premier League bosses had made arrangements with other companies for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons after the termination of the PPLive agreements.

A Premier League spokesman said after the ruling: “The Premier League welcomes the judgment handed down by the High Court today relating to non-payment of fees by PPLive, its former broadcast partner in China.

“The Premier League will robustly enforce its contractual rights when it has no other option available.

“The League notes the judge’s view that PPLive had ‘no real prospect of success’ defending the claim.

“The bar is high for a summary judgment application and this decision highlights the strength of the League’s case.

“The League will now begin the process of recovering the fees and costs owed by PPLive.”

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