Invasion in Ukraine: Everton suspends commercial sponsorship agreements with Russian companies

Invasion in Ukraine: Everton suspends commercial sponsorship agreements with Russian companies

Alisher Usmanov is a longtime business partner of Everton owner Farhad Moshiri

Everton have suspended commercial sponsorship deals with Russian companies partly owned by Alisher Usmanov following the invasion of Ukraine.

USM Holdings, in which Usmanov has a 49% stake, sponsors the training ground.

Usmanov also has an exclusive naming rights option to Everton’s new stadium, which is set to open for the start of the 2024-25 Premier League season.

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is the chairman of USM Holdings.

Digital and telecommunications company Megafon is owned by USM and sponsors Everton women’s shirts.external link The multi-year deal was completed in October 2020, while Yota, part of Megafon Group, is on the shirt sleeve.

“Everyone at Everton remains shocked and saddened by the appalling events unfolding in Ukraine,” a club statement read.

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

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

Everton added that they were doing all they could to give “full support” to Ukraine defender Vitalii Mykolenko, who joined the Toffees in January.

Mykolenko kissed Manchester City’s Ukrainian full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko on the Goodison Park pitch before Saturday Premier League game between the teams.

Everton boss Frank Lampard has endorsed the club’s decision to suspend business ties with Russian companies, although he denied reports he had spoken to Usmanov as part of his interview process for the post of Toffees.

“The way we behaved last Saturday against Manchester City, I thought we were one of the precursors to behaving well, and showing solidarity and unity and the right way and I think today t again today is a demonstration of us as a club doing the right thing,” he said.

Lampard added that Mykolenko will start in Thursday’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Boreham Wood.

“He will play tomorrow. It was a decision I made regardless of the external situation,” Lampard said.

“Football can be a relief for him, but the conversations I’ve had, I prefer to keep them private because they’re delicate. He’s also a new player here. So many things have happened to him, moving to another club , another city and country and now he has to deal with it.

“So he has our full support on that front.”

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Vitalii Mykolenko
Ukrainians Oleksandr Zinchenko and Vitalii Mykolenko embrace on the pitch during the warm-up ahead of Saturday’s game between Everton and Manchester City

The EU Council said it was freezing Usmanov’s assets because he is “a pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin”.

On Tuesday, Usmanov issued a statement on the website of the International Fencing Federation, an organization of which he is president, calling the EU’s decision to impose restrictions on him “unfair” and vowed to ” use all legal means to protect my honor and reputation”. “.

On Monday, Russian Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich announced he was sell the club.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss claims Abramovich ‘wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly’ after the threat of sanctions was raised in parliament and was offered the option to buy the club.

The UK government has yet to sanction Abramovich or Usmanov.

Manchester United terminated his sponsorship contract with Russian national airline Aeroflot last week after the country invaded Ukraine.

Premier League players will wear armbands

Meanwhile, the Premier League says it ‘unreservedly rejects Russia’s actions’ and has pledged to show solidarity with Ukraine with a number of initiatives at matches this weekend .

All 20 club captains will wear armbands in the Ukrainian colors and supporters are “encouraged to join the club’s players, directors, match officials and staff in a moment of reflection and solidarity before each match kicks off”. .

In a statement, the league also said large screens will display “Football Stands Together” with the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and the same message will be displayed on perimeter boards during games.