Chinese TV channel pull live coverage of Arsenal vs Man City over Mesut Ozil comments

By Mirror: Sunday, December 15th 2019 at 15:10 GMT +3 | Football
Mesut Ozil has seemingly angered the Chinese government. [Image: REUTERS]

Arsenal have had their clash with Manchester City pulled from Chinese TV following Mesut Ozil's controversial comments.

China’s state-run channel CCTV have decided against showing the match between the Gunners and the Premier League champions, according to Bloomberg.

A tweet from Chinese paper Global Times added: "China's State-run CCTV removed @Arsenal's Sunday match against @ManCity from its broadcast schedule after Arsenal star @MesutOzil1088's false comments on Xinjiang disappointed Chinese fans and football governing authorities. Online broadcaster PPTV may also stop airing the game."

Instead, they will show a recording of Arsenal's bitter rivals Tottenham playing Wolves - which kicks off at 2pm (UK time), two and half hours before the Gunners.

It isn't the first 'boycott' CCTV have made on Western sport in 2019 - having snubbed the NBA after Houston Rockets' manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in October.

Ozil angered the Chinese government last week when he took to social media to slam the treatment of Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority, in the north-western region of Xinjiang.

Get the latest sports news updates. Subscribe to our SMS sports service by texting 'SPORTS' to 22840.

The Uighur population in the region has been subjected to a campaign of religious and ethnic persecution by the Chinese authorities, with claims that more than a million have been held in detention camps.

Ozil's message on Instagram read: “East Turkistan, the bleeding wound of the Ummah, resisting against the persecutors trying to separate them from their religion.

"They burn their Qurans. They shut down their mosques. They ban their schools. They kill their holy men.

"The men are forced into camps and their families are forced to live with Chinese men. The women are forced to marry Chinese men.

“But Muslims are silent. They won’t make a noise. They have abandoned them. Don’t they know that giving consent for persecution is persecution itself?”

Arsenal have numerous business interests in China, including a chain of restaurants, and sought to limit any damage to its business by posting a statement on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

And the club distanced themselves from Ozil's comments in a statement posted on Webo.

“Regarding the comments made by Mesut Ozil on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement,” it read.

“The content published is Ozil’s personal opinion. As a football club,  Arsenal  has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.”

For More of This and Other Sports Stories Subscribe to the Standard Epaper