Everton suspend sponsorships with Russian companies USM, Megafon and Yota after Usmanov has assets frozen

Everton have suspended sponsorship arrangements with three Russian companies following the invasion of Ukraine.

The Toffees had commercial partnerships with Russian companies USM, Megafon and Yota, however, these have all now been temporarily stopped as the club take a stance on the conflict.

It comes after Alisher Usmanov, once a shareholder at Arsenal but who now boasts strong links to Everton, has seen his assets in the EU frozen as a result of “close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin”.

What has been said?

A statement released by the club on Wednesday 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."

How is Usmanov linked to Everton?

The Uzbek-born billionaire is among those facing sanctions on the back of Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Usmanov is a close friend of Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri, but is now banned from entering EU territory or conducting business in it, with measures being put in place to limit powers of the Kremlin and its associates.

The European Council announced on Monday that "26 persons" had been added to a list of names facing financial and business-related sanctions.

These included Usmanov, who has been named as a "pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin" within regulations updated in the Official Journal of the European Union.

That document adds: "(Usmanov) has been referred to as one of Vladimir Putin’s favourite oligarchs. He is considered to be one of Russia’s businessmen-officials, who were entrusted with servicing financial flows, but their positions depend on the will of the President."

Usmanov, who was previously the second-biggest stakeholder at Arsenal behind Stan Kroenke, is the majority shareholder of MegaFon – a company Everton owner Moshiri has a stake in.

MegaFon and Russian smartphone company Yota are the sponsors of the Toffees' women's team.

Usmanov is also the founder of holdings corporation USM, who have been sponsors of Everton’s Finch Farm training ground since 2017.

They also boast a £30 million ($40m) naming rights option on the club’s proposed new stadium, which is due to be opened ahead of the 2024-25 season.

Further reading