“Football Stands Together” messages in support of Ukraine were broadcasted live on Russian TV as Okko Sport’s coverage of the Manchester derby on Sunday.
The Russian broadcaster in charge was forced to apologize after pro-Ukrainian messages were visible during their coverage of Sunday’s Manchester derby.
Russia’s state-controlled media is attempting to suppress such messages in order to increase support for President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the sovereign state.
The majority of countries have condemned Putin’s actions, which have already resulted in thousands of deaths and a humanitarian crisis in Eastern Europe.
The Premier League is one of many organizations that have come out in support of Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression, using their considerable clout to undermine Putin’s crusade.
Dozens of fans also brought Ukrainian flags to the grounds, which Premier League fans watching in Russia would have seen.
On Sunday, Okko Sport was in charge of broadcasting the Manchester derby in Russia, and they were able to block out several pro-Ukrainian messages.
Okko Sport is a Russian broadcaster which was added to Britain’s list of sanctioned Russian entities.
However, they continue to televise Premier League matches anyway as they seemingly are willing to ignore the sanctions after spending £6.3million a year for the rights.
Okko supply their pictures from external sources, similarly to Sky Sports using American broadcasters for their NFL coverage, and it was because of this that the pro-Ukraine messages were shown, as Russia continue to be an outlier in Europe.
The Russian broadcaster received many complaints due to the “Football Stands Together” message on their screens, and a spokesperson for Okko said: “Since the signal is transmitted by the copyright holder, the display of this phrase was done by the broadcast signal copyright holder.”
Okko then cut directly to footage of the match at kick-off, and did not televise any of the pre-game footage as it would have shown further statements of solidarity at the Etihad.
The broadcaster also hid the words “Stop Invasion” during the La Liga clash between Granada and Cadiz last Monday, but they weren’t as successful this time around, for what is likely to have been their highest viewed foreign match.