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Bundesliga News

Two Bundesliga match feeds cut in Russia over anti-war messaging

By Peter Vice

While the Premier League and Ligue 1 have suspended their TV contracts with Russia, the DFL is still cooperating with a Russian football broadcasting company in the hopes that some of the messaging inside German stadiums is broadcast. 

The DFL now finds itself under pressure to cancel the working agreement after two telecasts were interrupted this weekend. 

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Photo: Granada, CC-by-SA 4.0

Both the Leipzig-Dortmund and Borussia Borussia-Mönchengladbach match this weekend were available for viewing inside Russia on the channel "Futbol3", as part of an agreement the DFL maintains with Russian syndicator "Match TV". In announcing that they would continue cooperation last month, the DFL rationalized the decision by expressing the hope that "anti-war calls and appeals for peace within German stadiums continue to reach the Russian population."

The DFL vowed that proceeds from the contract would be "donated to humanitarian causes within Ukraine." Moreover, the administrative body in charge of the Bundesliga and German second division promised that "censorship of the broadcasts would result in termination of the agreement."

As reported by German footballing magazine Kicker, this has occurred. Two broadcast feeds were cut this weekend as soon as "Stop War" appeared on the pitch side electronic advertising hoarding. Initially, images from the fan-block were faded in before the broadcast was stopped altogether.

"The broadcast cannot be continued for reasons beyond our control," commentator Igor Kytmanov was quoted as saying in Russian media, "the general rule of keeping football separate from politics is not always observed in the Bundesliga."

The extent of ant-war symbolism within German stadiums has faded significantly since the initial outbreak of war. Moments of silence, halfway lines refashioned in peace signs and Ukrainian flag imagery (once ubiquitous) have gradually faded from the scene.

While DFL-sanctioned statements become more infrequent, the protest-driven Bundesliga fan scene continues to supply solidarity gestures within the stands. At Signal Iduna Park on Saturday evening, signs, placards, and banners protesting the war were commonplace within the crowd.

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