Chinese streaming giant PPTV is withholding a £160 million payment owed to the English Premier League, according to a report in the Daily Mail . The money, which was due in March, is part of the current television rights deal and its non-payment has fuelled fears for the finances of several of the top tier’s 20 teams. Suning-owned PPTV bought the rights for the 2019-2022 broadcasting cycle for £564 million (US$719 million) in 2016, which made the China rights the league’s biggest earner and dwarfed the reported US$160 million paid by Super Sports for the previous cycle covering the 2013-14 to 2018-19 seasons. The Mail also reported that the league has responded to the late payment by rejecting a contract extension covering 2022 to 2025. Cologne and Mesut Ozil count cost of China backlash It suggests that the non-payment, which the league consider to be a breach of contract, is down to the coronavirus pandemic. England’s top flight was on hold from March 13 to mid-June because of the virus. However, the move may also have a “political dimension”, the Mail added, amid ongoing tensions between Britain and China over prime minister Boris Johnson’s offer to home Hongkongers following the National Security Law’s introduction and over blocking Huawei from being involved in the national 5G network. Arsenal’s Ozil reaction puts club in a game it can’t win While the NBA has suffered most from the continued fallout from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters, the English Premier League has not been free from issues with China. The game between Liverpool and Chelsea was not broadcast live on terrestrial television on CCTV 5 as planned, instead being switched to the less widespread digital channel CCTV 5+ at the last minute. Last year, Arsenal were briefly removed from state television after Mesut Ozil spoke out about the treatment of Uygurs in the Xinjiang region.