Football: Everton suspend deals with Russian org.
Everton has discontinued all commercial sponsorship deals with the Russian companies USM Holdings, MegaFon, and Yota, the Premier League club
LIVERPOOL: As a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Everton has discontinued all commercial sponsorship deals with the Russian companies USM Holdings, MegaFon, and Yota, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.
USM Holdings and MegaFon are associated with billionaire and oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who has been sanctioned by the European Union over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Yota, a mobile virtual network operator, is a subsidiary of the MegaFon Group.
Back in 2020, Everton agreed to a 30 million pound ($39.97 million) naming rights contract with Usmanov for their proposed new Bramley-Moore Dock stadium. Since 2017, his holding firm USM has sponsored Everton's Finch Farm training facility.
Everton issued in a statement, "Everyone at Everton remains shocked and saddened by the horrific events unfolding in Ukraine."
"This tragic situation must end as soon as possible, and any further loss of life must be avoided."
Usmanov formerly owned 30% of Arsenal but sold it to American Stan Kroenke in 2018.
In his pre-match news conference on Thursday, Everton manager Frank Lampard was asked if he had met Usmanov when he was interviewed for the position in January.
"Those reports were inaccurate. My interview was with the board: Mr (Farhad) Moshiri, the chairman, Denise (Barrett-Baxendale the CEO and the board — not with Mr Usmanov."
Lampard, who took over as manager from Rafa Benitez, stated that he had "total faith" that the club will make the correct decisions about sponsorships.
"We were one of the forerunners in showing solidarity and unity. The suspension was the right thing to do, it's important I focus on the football," he told a news conference.
"If it feels right for the club, it's the right thing to do. That's a club decision. As a coach, member of staff — our jobs haven't changed. We have deep empathy and emotion for what's happening in the world."
Everton's players walked onto the pitch dressed in Ukrainian flags for their Premier League match against Manchester City on Saturday, and Vitaliy Mykolenko embraced Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko, a fellow Ukrainian citizen.
Everton stated that they will continue to offer "full support" to their defender and his family.
Mykolenko did not play against City, but Lampard suggested he would play against Boreham Wood in the FA Cup fifth round on Thursday.
"He will play tomorrow. That was a decision I'd made regardless of the outside situation," Lampard said.
"You have to be aware of the life decision for him at the moment. The conversations I've had, I'd rather keep quiet because they are delicate. He's a new player here, he has all our support."
Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - Agency