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  Sunday, October 20, 2019
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All live matches from the Russian soccer Premier League will be broadcast free this year
All live matches from the Russian soccer Premier League will be broadcast free this year, a first Russian vice prime minister said Friday. On Tuesday the Russian Football Union (RFU) and NTV-plus commercial television company concluded an agreement to broadcast all live Russian Premier League matches at pay-per-view rates instead of free on state television channels. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his concern over this deal and asked Dmitry Medvedev, a first deputy prime minister and the head of the state commission on the development of television and radio broadcasting in Russia, to straighten the situation out. "Regarding the task that the president gave me, I held talks with the directorship of NTV-plus and Sport television channel," Medvedev said. "It was agreed that this year all matches would continue to be broadcast free like last year." NTV-plus purchased exclusive rights from the RFU to broadcast live soccer matches for the next four years under a $100 million contract, but the Russian president criticized the deal. "As I understand it, NTV-plus together with the [Russian] football union and its [RFU] president Vitaly Mutko have once again stirred something up and want to take away from us, the regular sports fans, the possibility of watching free soccer matches," Putin said. "Be so kind as to look into this, because we talk about promoting a healthy life style, sports and family and then we put it all on a commercial basis," Putin told Medvedev Wednesday. The Russian president has been actively pushing for the development of sports and particularly soccer, following the Russian national team's recent poor performance and failure to qualify for the last year's World Cup in Germany. The 2007 Federal budget, signed by Putin last December, allocated 206 billion rubles ($7.8 billion) for sports and health in Russia, a 41% increase against the previous year.
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