Everton suspends sponsorship deals with Russian firms as billionaire Alisher Usmanov slams ‘unfair’ European Union sanctions over Ukraine invasion


Everton have suspended all sponsorship deals with Russian companies in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The Premier League club have confirmed that their partnerships with USM, Megafon and Yota have been suspended with immediate effect.

Everton cut ties with all Russian sponsors

All three companies are associated with Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbekistan-born Russian billionaire who is a key supporter of the club thanks to his close working relationship with majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

Everton’s 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 who works at Everton give their 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 agreements with Russian companies USM, Megafon and Yota.”

Everton have come under increasing pressure to act due to Usmanov’s links to Vladimir Putin, which led to him being sanctioned by the European Union.


Everton suspends sponsorship deals with Russian firms as billionaire Alisher Usmanov slams 'unfair' European Union sanctions over Ukraine invasion
Alisher Usmanov was sanctioned because of his links with Vladimir Putin

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU added “26 people” to the list of those affected by sanctions, including an asset freeze, a ban on making funds available to persons and entities listed, as well as a travel ban to prevent them from crossing EU territory.

In an official European Union statement, Usmanov was described as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

The statement added: “[Usmanov] was named as one of Vladimir Putin’s favorite oligarchs.

“He is considered one of the Russian businessmen-officials, who have been tasked with managing financial flows, but their positions depend on the president’s will.”

In response, Usmanov called the sanctions “unfair,” saying in a personal statement: “On February 28, 2022, I became the target of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union.

Everton suspends sponsorship deals with Russian firms as billionaire Alisher Usmanov slams 'unfair' European Union sanctions over Ukraine invasion
Alisher Usmanov is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin

“I believe that such a decision is unjust and the reasons given to justify the sanctions are a set of false and defamatory allegations that undermine my honor, my dignity and my commercial reputation.

“I will use all legal means to protect my honor and reputation.

“I hereby suspend the exercise of my functions as President of the International Fencing Federation with immediate effect until justice is restored.”

Sensitivity around the situation is paramount at Goodison Park with Ukraine star Vitaliy Mykolenko part of Frank Lampard’s squad.

Mykolenko looked visibly emotional on Saturday ahead of his side’s clash with Premier League leaders Manchester City at Goodison Park.

Everton suspends sponsorship deals with Russian firms as billionaire Alisher Usmanov slams 'unfair' European Union sanctions over Ukraine invasion
Vitaliy Mykolenko shared his feelings for the Russian national team
Getty

The 22-year-old was seen deep in conversation with City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko before and during the match as both clubs showed their support for their home country.

Mykolenko has since spoken out against his Russian counterparts in an impassioned Instagram post.

Hitting Russian national team skipper Dzyuba, the Everton man wrote: “While you remain a silent b**** with your s***head football mates, peaceful civilians are being killed in Ukraine .

“You will be locked up in a prison for the rest of your life and especially the life of your children. And I’m happy.


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