Everton Football Club have decided to suspend all sponsorship deals with Russian companies USM Holdings, MegaFon and Yota with immediate effect. As a result all signage with their names at Goodison Park, Finch Farm and even on the women’s team kits will be removed starting today.
Following the European Union sanctioning of a number of businessmen who support or have been reported to have ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, pressure has been increasing on Everton to make a decision before the British government followed suit with the EU’s action.
It all gets a little more complicated in the Toffees’ situation however, since majority shareowner Farhad Moshiri is a long-time business partner of oligarch Alisher Usmanov, one of the businessmen named on that list. Moshiri is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of USM Holdings, one of the sponsors of the club. Yesterday Usmanov released a statement defending himself.
Last week, immediately after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the club had attempted to clarify that the sanctions announced by the United States government would not affect any of the sponsorship deals, but as outrage has continued to grow worldwide over the sustained war effort by the Russian military, the club appear to have had their hand forced, resulting in today’s announcement.
Club Statement:— Everton (@Everton) March 2, 2022
Everton’s statement voiced support for Ukrainian player Vitalii Mykolenko, who was given a rousing welcome at Goodison Park before Saturday’s game against Manchester City.
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.
While it is not clear how this will affect Everton’s immediate financial position, questions will now be raised over the club’s long-term sustainability as well as concerns about funding the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock where construction is continuing at pace and on track for the Toffees to move there for the 2024-25 season. Usmanov has indirectly also invested £30 million a couple of years ago to obtain the naming rights to the new stadium.