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EPL’s landmark High Court ruling over £157m TV rights debt

It’s taken some time to reach a conclusion, but the English Premier League have finally won a ruling in the High Court to force a Chinese broadcaster into paying £157m for TV rights to the English top-flight.

PPLive are owned by Suning Holdings, the same company which own Inter Milan, and their PPLive Sports International arm agreed to a deal which meant that live Premier League matches and highlights would be broadcast in China from the start of the 2019/20 campaign, and for three seasons.

The agreement was for £523m but the company didn’t honour its obligations and failed to make an agreed payment in March 2020.

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Given that the Premier League believed that the company had therefore reneged on the terms of the contract, they terminated the deal in September 2020.

At that point, two instalments still remained unpaid, though it took until November 2021 for the High Court’s Justice Peter Fraser to rule in favour of the Premier League, and without the need for the case to proceed to a trial.

On Tuesday, Justice Fraser handed down a summary judgement. What that means in layman’s terms is that no trial will be necessary.

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Justice Fraser had concluded that Suning Holdings had “no real prospect” of defending the claim.

Whilst it’s believed the Premier League welcomed the ruling, they will still need to work hard to secure the funds that they are owed from a company who appear to have completely disregarded them from the outset.

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