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Everton suspend deals with Alisher Usmanov’s USM, MegaFon and Yota brands

Premier League club ends deals with Russian brands amid the invasion of Ukraine.

2 March 2022 PA
Everton have suspended their commercial ties with Russian companies USM, MegaFon and Yota

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  • USM sponsors Everton’s training ground and has UK£30m naming rights option deal on new stadium
  • MegaFon and Yota hold prime branding deals with women’s team

Premier League club Everton have suspended their commercial ties with Russian companies USM, MegaFon and Yota.

Alisher Usmanov has seen his assets frozen as part of sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) and the Uzbek-born billionaire’s USM Holdings sponsors Everton’s training ground, with an initial five-year deal announced in 2017.

It also has an option on naming rights for the Toffees’ new stadium – a deal worth UK£30 million (US$39.9 million) to the club.

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

On 2nd March, Everton published a statement announcing it would end all deals with the Russian brands. It 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’s decision comes amid reports that Roman Abramovich is ready to sell Chelsea.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has claimed he has been given the chance to buy the London-based club, and is preparing a consortium to submit an offer.

PA Media reports that an American-based merchant bank has contacted potential buyers, claiming to represent the Blues in a potential sale.

Chelsea have not responded to Wyss’ claims or suggestions that the west London club could now be sold.

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich, PA Media says, wants to retain his ownership of Chelsea, but that could effectively prove close to impossible should the UK government impose sanctions on the 55-year-old.

The 86-year-old billionaire Wyss has admitted he will look into the details of any possible deal to buy Chelsea, with the asking price thought to push beyond UK£2 billion (US$2.7 billion).

“Abramovich is trying to sell all his villas in England, he also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly,” Wyss told Swiss newspaper Blick. “I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.

“I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much. You know, Chelsea owe him UK£2 billion, but Chelsea has no money. As of today, we don’t know the exact selling price.”

Abramovich attempted to step back from the daily running of Chelsea on 26th February, handing over ‘stewardship and care’ to the club’s charitable foundation trustees. The UK’s Charity Commission has contacted the Stamford Bridge club for more detail after trustees raised concerns over technicalities.

Swiss billionaire Wyss, who founded medical device firm Synthes USA, insisted he could only consider a deal for Chelsea with a clutch of investment partners.

“I can well imagine starting at Chelsea with partners,” said Wyss. “But I have to examine the general conditions first. What I can already say: I’m definitely not doing something like this alone. If I buy Chelsea, then with a consortium consisting of six to seven investors.”

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