Everton have been urged to sever ties with billionaire Alisher Usmanov by Chris Bryant, the Labor MP who last week said Roman Abramovich’s assets should be seized.
Usmanov, born in Uzbek, is not officially involved with Everton, but his company USM sponsors the club’s training ground, while another, Megafon, is Everton’s main women’s shirt sponsor.
The 68-year-old had his assets frozen Monday by the European Union in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Labor MP Chris Bryant said he expected Usmanov to be sanctioned by the UK in the near future, and added that he believed the same prospect had left Blues owner Roman Abramovich “terrified”.
Last week in the House of Commons, Bryant said Abramovich should have his assets seized.
Bryant said on Tuesday: “Alisher Usmanov has already been sanctioned by the EU but not by the UK yet. But I suspect he will be on a UK roster soon and Everton should definitely cut ties with him already.
What did Chris Bryant say about Roman Abramovich?
Speaking last week in the House of Commons, Bryant used parliamentary privilege to refer to a leaked Home Office document from 2019 which suggested Roman Abramovich should not be allowed to be based in the UK .
He said: “That was almost three years ago and yet remarkably little has been done in this regard. Should Mr Abramovich no longer be able to own a football club in this country?
“Surely we should consider seizing some of his assets, including his £152m home?”
“Roman Abramovich – well, I think he’s terrified of being sanctioned, that’s why he’s already going to sell his house tomorrow and also sell another apartment. My concern is that we’re taking too long for these things.
“I have a suggestion of what might help. I’m afraid the government is afraid of lawyers’ letters from all the friends of these oligarchs. One way around this is for ministers to simply read from the minutes a procedure at the parliament, all criteria sanctioned – and then they would be protected.”
Usmanov released a statement on Tuesday via the International Fencing Federation of which he had been president since 2008. The statement read: “On February 28, 2022, I became the target of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union.
“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.”
Sky Sports News has contacted representatives for Everton and Abramovich.