Toffees chief executive Robert Elstone confirmed at the club’s general meeting on Wednesday that a naming rights deal had been agreed for Finch Farm.
Various news outlets including The Guardian are now reporting that the company involved is USM Holdings, the holding company covering Usmanov’s various business interests including Metalloinvest and MegaFon.
As part of the five-year deal Everton’s training ground will be renamed USM Finch Farm and also includes marketing rights and matchday sponsorship at Goodison Park.
The deal is the first confirmed link between Everton and Usmanov, a long-term business partner of Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.
Moshiri is chairman of the board of directors at USM Holdings and one of the main shareholders.
The Iranian-born businessman sold his stake in Arsenal to Usmanov in February, allowing him to purchase his majority share in Everton for £87.5m.
That gave Usmanov a 30% stake in Arsenal, though Stan Kroenke retains overall control at the Emirates Stadium with a 67.05% stake.
Usmanov’s relationship with Moshiri and his continued failure to gain full control at Arsenal led to speculation the 63-year-old could buy into Everton.
Those reports were denied last year, with a statement claiming Usmanov saw his shares in Arsenal as a long-term investment.
However, news of this deal with spark fresh speculation about Usmanov’s ambitions. The Uzbek-born business magnate is ranked by Forbes as Russia’s richest man with an estimated personal fortune of £11.8billion.
If he was to invest in Everton, then we would well and truly be in business.
At this stage that does unfortunately appear unlikely. Though at the very least his relationship with Moshiri is giving Everton access to multi-million pound companies to do business with.
Everton are also due to announce two new shirt sponsorship deals ahead of next season, with Elstone claiming a 300% uplift on the previous agreement. Moshiri’s links with Usmanov may well be behind those deals.
At the very least it is yet another slice of good news in a week where the club’s ambitious new leadership set out the road map for a bright future.
From the Everton website -
Everton Football Club has confirmed a naming rights partnership with USM Holdings which will see the Russian-based group become the Club’s first ever training ground partner. The initial five-year deal, commencing in January 2017, will see the Halewood training ground renamed USM Finch Farm.
Aside from the naming and branding of the training ground, USM will also benefit from a set of global marketing rights including presence on media interview backdrops, LED advertising at Goodison Park on matchdays, VIP hospitality and player access for brands within the group.
Businesses within USM Holdings include Metalloinvest, the largest mining company in Russia and the CIS and the leading global manufacturer of hot briquetted iron, Baikal Mining Company, which owns one of the largest copper reserves in the world, MegaFon, one of the major telecommunications operators in Russia, and Mail.Ru Group, the Russian internet leader and owner of Russia’s most popular social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki.