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Everton suspend commercial ties with Alisher Usmanov’s companies

Branding is set to be removed from Goodison Park and the Finch Farm training base.

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Everton have suspended arrangements with three Russian companies (Richard McCarthy/PA)

Everton have suspended arrangements with three Russian companies (Richard McCarthy/PA)

Everton have suspended arrangements with three Russian companies (Richard McCarthy/PA)

Everton have suspended commercial ties with Alisher Usmanov’s companies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Uzbekistan-born billionaire is founder of private Russian holding company USM and has had his assets frozen as part of sanctions imposed by the European Union in response to Russia’s ongoing attack.

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is chairman of the board of directors at USM Holdings, which has sponsored Everton’s training ground since agreeing an initial five-year deal in 2017. It also has an option on naming rights for the Toffees’ new stadium – a deal worth £30million to the club.

MegaFon is among USM’s businesses and Everton Women signed a multi-year principal partnership deal with the telecommunications operator in October 2020, when Yota – part of the MegaFon Group – was added to the sleeve.

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Everton have suspended agreements with Alisher Usmanov’s businesses (Nick Potts/PA)

Everton have suspended agreements with Alisher Usmanov’s businesses (Nick Potts/PA)

Everton have suspended agreements with Alisher Usmanov’s businesses (Nick Potts/PA)

Branding is set to be removed from Goodison Park and the Finch Farm training base after the Premier League club confirmed the immediate suspension of agreements with the three companies.

An Everton statement read: “Everyone at Everton remains shocked and saddened by the appalling events unfolding in Ukraine.

“This tragic situation must end as soon as possible, and any further loss of life must be avoided.

“The players, coaching staff and everyone working at Everton is providing full support to our player Vitalii Mykolenko and his family and will continue to do so.

“The club can confirm that it has suspended with immediate effect all commercial sponsorship arrangements with the Russian companies USM, Megafon and Yota.”

Everton boss Frank Lampard backed the club’s decision and denied reports Usmanov was among those present when he was interviewed for the job.

Speaking ahead of his side’s FA Cup fifth-round clash against Boreham Wood, Lampard said: “My interview was with the board: Mr Moshiri, the chairman, Denise, the CEO, and others but not Mr Usmanov so that’s not accurate.

“In the short time I’ve been at the club and working personally with the people who really matter at the club, I had absolute faith they are making the right decisions as they see them.

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“This is a show of us as a club doing the right thing.”

Ukraine international Mykolenko joined Everton from Dynamo Kyiv in January.

The 22-year-old full-back hit out at Russia captain Artem Dzyuba and his international team-mates on Tuesday for their silence over the invasion of Ukraine.

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Everton fans have shown their support to Vitalii Mykolenko (Peter Byrne/PA)

Everton fans have shown their support to Vitalii Mykolenko (Peter Byrne/PA)

Everton fans have shown their support to Vitalii Mykolenko (Peter Byrne/PA)

In a post on Instagram in his native language, Mykolenko said: “Whilst you remain silent b**** along with your s***head football team-mates, peaceful civilians are being killed in Ukraine.

“You will be locked in your dungeon for the rest of your life and most importantly the lives of your kids. And I’m glad.”

Mykolenko’s post came the day after FIFA and UEFA suspended Russia from all competitions.

Lampard confirmed the defender would feature for Everton when they welcome non-league Boreham Wood to Goodison Park on Thursday.

Lampard said: “He will play and that was a decision I’d made regardless of the outside situation, purely on a football decision. It feels like the training and the potential of playing is a relief for him.

“The conversations I’ve had with him, I’d rather keep private because they are delicate but at the moment we’re giving him all the support and I’m sure he feels that from our end.

“He’s also a new player here so there’s so many things that have happened to him, let alone moving over here as a young man, coming to a different country, a different city and a different football club.

“He’s now having to contend with all this so he has all our support on that front.”

Ronan Evain, executive director at Football Supporters Europe, insisted football let itself down when it allowed Russia to host the 2018 World Cup and called for stronger human rights policies to be put in place.

He said at the FT Business of Football summit in London: “We have collectively failed in 2018, all of us.

We have a collective responsibility now to address this because we have helped the Putin regime at a time when he was already at war with UkraineRonan Evain

“Governing bodies, media, sponsors, fans and Governments because we took the World Cup to Russia and we celebrated this festival of football at a time when there were already thousands of deaths in Ukraine, LGBTQ+ people being tortured and we have normalised this.

“We have a collective responsibility now to address this because we have helped the Putin regime at a time when he was already at war with Ukraine.

“In the long run, we have to put pressure on football together so that it doesn’t happen again. That football has a proper human rights policy, a proper social responsibility policy and that everyone in the game does the same. We have to stop using football for sportswashing purposes and to advertise dictatorship.”

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