There looks to be trouble ahead for the Premier League which is bound to have a knock-on effect for its member clubs.
According to the Daily Mail, the rights holders for broadcasting the English top-flight in China, Suning Holdings, have withheld a payment of £160m which was due to be paid in March.
That has seen the effect of a swift retaliation from the Premier League, who have since rejected Suning’s offer for a three-year extension to the current contract which sees all English Premier League games broadcast on China’s PPTV channel.
The Daily Mail note the significance of the Premier League’s stance, given that the Suning contract is the biggest outside of the United Kingdom, but also suggest that there could be a political element to the non-payment of monies.
That would put the Premier League in the uncomfortable position of being stuck right in the middle of a potential diplomatic issue.
With Suning being considered in breach of contract in any event, the issue was discussed by the clubs at a recent shareholders’ meeting, per the Daily Mail.
At this stage, there are, apparently, a range of options still on the table which include negotiating a revised payment plan, demanding immediate payment or even terminating the deal.
The decision that the Premier League take next might well have long-lasting ramifications.