Everton offer clarification regarding US sanctions of USM company

Friday, 25 February, 2022 44comments  |  Jump to last

Everton have moved to clarify that the company bearing the name USM that has been included in the list of Russia-based firms listed for sanction by the United States Treasury is a different entity to the one that sponsors Finch Farm.

USM Limited Liability Company, described on the list as a "financial company located in Russia", was named by the US as one of the companies to be restricted in its dealings in America in the wake of Russian president, Vladimir Putin's, decision to commence an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine this week.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton sources say that USM Holdings, which has sponsorship ties with the club beyond just the training ground, is different to the one earmarked for sanctions and that there are no plans at this stage for the club to change its commercial arrangements.

USM Holdings, of which Russian citizen Alisher Usmanov and Everton owner Farhad Moshiri are directors, have purchased the naming rights to the club's Bramley-Moore Dock stadium which is currently under construction and is the parent company of Megafon, a matchday sponsor at Goodison Park and shirt sponsor of Everton Women.


Reader Comments (44)

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David Pearl
1 Posted 25/02/2022 at 18:57:05
Is anyone talking on here about whether Everton will be removing USM and Megafon from our sponsors? Or have l missed it
Kim Vivian
2 Posted 25/02/2022 at 19:01:06
David - I'm hoping to see no mention of either of them at the ground or anywhere else tomorrow, but a blue and yellow flag on the sleeve of the jerseys would be nice.
Jerome Shields
3 Posted 25/02/2022 at 20:07:10
David we are all trying to get are heads round Everton. That's enough lack of control for anyone.
David Pearl
4 Posted 25/02/2022 at 20:21:05
Kim, yes that would be an appropriate gesture. I'm just thinking is there any way we can replace those deals and it could be very tricky.
David Vaughan
5 Posted 25/02/2022 at 22:45:35
I don't care about the nuances of business ownership. As long as my beloved club economically associates with Russians while that country invades an independent nation, I no longer class myself as an Evertonian. Get relegated, stay up, win the cup - I don't care. Until they reset their moral compass.
Si Cooper
6 Posted 25/02/2022 at 22:49:49
David, it may depend on how the businesses are defined / operate. If they are effectively ‘state' entities then they will probably be considered as actually directly supporting Putin. Other businesses may be seen as private, although they could still rely on paying Putin to be able to operate.

It seems Usmanov has a decision to make about publicly distancing himself from Putin. Can't imagine he would be allowed to simply do that if any ongoing business essentially bolstered Putin.

Can we agree that an oligarch can become ‘rehabilitated' if they are able to extricate themselves so they are no longer aiding and abetting the regime?

Dale Self
7 Posted 25/02/2022 at 23:05:14
It's not like that, David, come back. We simply have to draw the line and unwind from where we were. No-one is expecting us to immediately clean up a mess like this and I would hope no-one thinks Everton saw this coming and didn't care as long as the stadium finances came through.

I've weighed in a bit already so I'll leave it there but don't be embarrassed about us unless we do nothing on the matter. Then I may join you.

Martin Greggor
8 Posted 25/02/2022 at 23:43:54
Back in 2010, in an interview with Forbes magazine, Usmanov said:

"I am proud that I know Putin, and the fact that everybody does not like him is not Putin's problem."

More embarrassment for our club.

Ernie Baywood
9 Posted 26/02/2022 at 02:43:56
Very difficult to know where the line is drawn in terms of where to accept money from in football.

I doubt anyone thinks every penny is clean... yet we welcome funding for our club.

Without knowing where the line is, I think this crosses it. USM Holdings or USM LLC - we shouldn't be making decisions based on the nuances of entity locations. We know what's right.

I'll accept what comes with that.

I just don't know that we'll replace it with anything that is clearly on the right side of the line!

Kevin Palmer
10 Posted 26/02/2022 at 13:18:48
Martin Greggor.

2010 was a long time ago – before Russian state interference in US elections and the Brexit vote, before the first invasion of Ukraine. I'm interested in what he has to say more recently. I think we all want to know.

Yes, a plutocrat or oligarch can be rehabilitated, but it requires making a stand. I don't know how Usmanov's (and therefore Moshiri's) wealth is tied to staying in Putin's good graces. I think if they aren't publicly condemning Russia and Putin's actions, then we can assume that it is.

If so, USM and Megafone should be off the kit and their money out of the club.

David Vaughn

Please let's not descend to petty nationalism. Many Russians are bravely making their voices heard in the streets of St Petersburg, Moscow and all over Russia. Even some business people including the owner of Novaya Gazeta.

We may see mass resignations of Russian "journalists" today – the state propaganda about the war in Ukraine being too much for even them to peddle. At the same time, many Russians do support it, and support Putin.

I doubt Moshiri and Usmanov do. But, if they aren't willing to publicly, and loudly condemn Putin's aggression, then they and their money both need to go.

Gary Jones
11 Posted 26/02/2022 at 13:32:20
Kevin’s demand for people to “jump to my tune or be presumed guilty because you didn’t” is akin to the witch hunts in Salem. For all he knows, Usmanov could have family or friends in danger if he did what Kevin demands….but hey, it makes Kev feel virtuous so bollocks to them.

Blaming Brexit on the “Russians” is also utter idiocy. The tool of spoilt children unable to accept those naughty fellow voters didn’t vote the way they want. The EU exit has made Britain (a genuine Cold War enemy of Russia) able to act freely and without the influence of the Russian dependent Germans (see SWIFT). It was never in Russias interest to have us outside the EU.

This will be my only post on it. I condemn Russia in the strongest possible terms, and hope Putin chokes to death on his tea…..just think it’s embarrassing some are demanding witches need to prove they aren’t witches. Wait for government to sanction and then we act.

Barry Hesketh
12 Posted 26/02/2022 at 13:48:20
I think most supporters are rightly outraged about Putin's action in Ukraine, however, for any business to cut ties with sponsors, owners and anyone else connected to Putin, is not as simple as some would have us believe. There will be legal contracts in place, penalties for breaking those contracts and a myriad of other issues associated with those contracts.

Successive UK Governments deemed it okay to do business with Russia and football's governing bodies gave the green light to Abromovich and others to purchase football clubs. From that particular perspective, Everton Football Club has done nothing wrong, and even if it wanted to extricate and distance itself from Usmanov, it will only do so with the strong possibility of financially destroying the club itself.

The best scenario is for the current owner(s) to sell up and any new owners to search for new more acceptable sponsorship, and perhaps new backers for the stadium costs. Maybe Moshiri and company could sell to Mr Kenwright for a quid?

Kevin Palmer
13 Posted 26/02/2022 at 14:12:36
David Vaughn
Also meant to say - regarding the rest of your statement.
I fully agree. The club statement has left far too many questions unanswered.

Gary Jones
Very noble of you to stand up and defend a man worth 12 Billion Pounds who owns the largest yacht on earth and who has publicly stated (though 14 years ago) that he was "proud to know Putin." He's fully capable of revising those statements now. And if his family is any physical danger, they could easily leave on any of his private jets. The window of time in which these questions should be answered is closing rapidly.

Kevin Palmer
14 Posted 26/02/2022 at 14:22:11
Barry Hesketh
Depending on the answers to exactly how USM Holding and USM LLC, and how Usmanov and Putin are connected, sanctions could very quickly make those legal contract null and void.
Usmanov is not on any sanctions list. But, one of his companies is. Many unanswered questions right now, and we're right to want answers.
Gary Jones
15 Posted 26/02/2022 at 14:22:18
Kevin - I’m defending that action against individuals is initiated by authorities who have access to information we will never see, not the kangaroo court of virtue signalling Kev. Also, maybe you should also consider people like Litvinenko before you make further stupid comments about “just how easy” it is for someone to betray Putin and just walk away free.
Gary Jones
16 Posted 26/02/2022 at 14:24:45
Kevin, read the article, then tell me how “one of his companies are”?
Jim Lloyd
17 Posted 26/02/2022 at 14:27:46
Gary Jones. Well said. Thoughtful against rather less thoughtful and Litvinenko wasn't the only one just one of many.
No good getting answers that turn out to be the answers you don't expect...or like.
Dale Self
18 Posted 26/02/2022 at 14:35:10
Uh, if uncle Usmanov is in a tight position that would be just desserts wouldnt it? Sleep with dogs, get fleas and all that?
Kevin Palmer
19 Posted 26/02/2022 at 14:53:23

And you promised us you'd only make one comment.

I've actually read this and other articles. And there are conflicting reports about whether Usmanov is connected to USM LLC, the sanctioned entity as well as to USM Holdings.

So yes, it could be that he is completely unconnected. I should not have said "one of his companies is".

His earlier comment on Putin alone needs updating, however.

Gary Jones
20 Posted 26/02/2022 at 15:02:41

1) Apologies, I meant my only comment on Brexit…..I put the new paragraph a sentence too early.

2) Fair play admitting your own mistake too, it's rare to see retraction on such emotive issues, and I've got respect for anyone who can.

3) I hope that in time he does recant it… but, hindsight is not something we can judge clearly on, and unless we have an intricate understanding of his personal situation, we shouldn't be demanding it. As I've already stated, what's easy for me and you to say could be a literal death sentence for others.

Bill Gall
21 Posted 26/02/2022 at 15:10:29
Barry #12,

Why should Moshiri sell up just because he worked for Usmanov and is friends with him? He used Usmanov's friendship with him to get sponsorship for Finch Farm and naming rights to the new stadium and sponsorship for the women's team.

At the time, I never heard of many supporters objecting to his financial assistance through one of his companies. At the time, there were a number of comments how great it would be to see Usmanov's yacht sail down the Mersey and dock at the new ground.

There is no doubt that Everton should have an internal investigation into what he is being investigated for, and take it from the answers they get, before they take any hasty actions.

Kevin Palmer
22 Posted 26/02/2022 at 15:35:36

I may have jumped to conclusions prematurely based on inconclusive evidence. But, the questions remain and Usmanov and the club can easily answer them.

Actually, the club likely cannot answer them as a sponsoring company's owner's exact financial dealings and political affiliations is not something they would know.

Kevin Palmer
23 Posted 26/02/2022 at 15:44:32

And no, I won't condemn Usmanov for a comment made 14 years ago when Putin's mendacity wasn't so obvious as he had, until then, only poisoned a few opponents, bombed a few Russian residential buildings and leveled Grozny.

But, I am asking if he still feels the same way. It's a question he should answer relatively soon.

Even Abromovich's daughter is publicly opposing Putin.

Michael Kenrick
25 Posted 27/02/2022 at 20:48:01
Just seen Fifa's disgusting fudge on Russia competing in international football as teams like Poland are refusing to play them in World Cup qualifiers.

Fifa say they can continue to play but under the "Football Union of Russia" and not simply "Russia". I suppose this is like the IOC banning Russia but not the ridiculous "Russian Olympic Committee" athletes.

Tony Abrahams
26 Posted 27/02/2022 at 20:53:59
I wonder what FIFA will do when none of the other teams will play against the Football Union of Russia?
Neil Copeland
27 Posted 27/02/2022 at 21:16:14
Tony #26, probably declare them World Cup winners….what a complete nonsense, FIFA should be leading the way.
Robert Tressell
28 Posted 27/02/2022 at 21:44:47
There is a decent chance that no-one would turn up to play the tournament if Russia is participating in some form.

The response from various organisations, commercial and political, gives you a good indication of who is on the Russian payroll.

Unfortunately, there's all sorts of uncertainty about our situation. Usmanov is one of the Oligarchs outed under parliamentary privilege. We know there's a connection via Moshiri but I don't think we really know any more than that. So there is a real question mark over the stadium right now, and potentially other investment too. We shall just have to see.

Rob Halligan
29 Posted 27/02/2022 at 22:00:09
Many are questioning our associations with Megafon and USM, and whether we should relinquish all ties with them. I personally don't know whether we should or not, but what I would like to know is this…

UEFA have recently moved this season's Champions League Final from St Petersburg to Paris. Fair enough. UEFA also has many sponsors, but their biggest sponsor by far is Gazprom, a Russian multinational energy corporation based in, funnily enough, St Petersburg and who, I assume pay UEFA the most in sponsorship money.

So will UEFA now terminate their sponsorship with Gazprom, or will money still talk at the end of the day?

Paul Hewitt
30 Posted 27/02/2022 at 22:29:36
Let's get something straight, any deals with MegaFon and USM should be got rid of right away. What is happening in Ukraine is heartbreaking, if it hit us financially tough. People are dieing by Russia and any association with any Russian company is not on.
Barry Hesketh
31 Posted 27/02/2022 at 22:44:39
According to a report by Bloomberg. Unfortunately the main report is behind a paywall so I am unable to link the full article.

NEW: The EU is weighing sanctions on some of Russia's oligarchs and wealthiest tycoons - proposed list includes Usmanov, Fridman, Aven, Mordashov, Sechin, Tokarev - as well as Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Michael Kenrick
32 Posted 27/02/2022 at 22:58:35
Hmm... Seems Uncle Alisher is President of the International Fencing Federation – since 2008. A number of articles are citing the connection between this and US sanctions against USM.
John Chambers
33 Posted 27/02/2022 at 23:01:22
Rob, #29, according to all the reports UEFA are looking into ditching Gazprom, as we should with any Russian investment
Michael Kenrick
34 Posted 27/02/2022 at 23:03:03
Don Alexander
35 Posted 27/02/2022 at 23:23:27
Shock, horror, our Chairman has found yet another very dodgy source of money to allegedly sustain our club whilst he gets mega-wealthy in the process.

First, but failing at the first hurdle of exposure to true Evertonians, Samuelson and his Russian oligarch bosses, then his self-proclaimed "Mozart-of-Money" feckless shyster Green and his God only knows acolytes, then Moshiri, the epitome of a pen-pushing footballing know-nothing dancing on the end of Usmanov's strings.

If the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock ever gets built, will it have sewers? If so, ironically name the fuckers after him because he just seeks shit from any quarter.

Paul Birmingham
36 Posted 27/02/2022 at 23:37:43
There's some serious financial shit to be filtered with the precarious state of the situation in Ukraine, and one of Everton's alleged main backers has an association with a tyrannical regime in Russia.

I don't know a stitch of what is, or isn't, but Everton must do what's right and proper, and set an example to the football world.

Proxies, in this case, of companies or names won't wash. But, based on the club's feedback in the last few weeks, it would seem the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is secure, but via which backers?

Priority is to stay up and, if we stay longer at Goodison, so be it. But, as Evertonians, in context of the scale of this crisis and the impact on UK security, we are entitled to know.

Dave Lynch
37 Posted 28/02/2022 at 02:18:27
People have been dying in Russia for generations under communist rule, they have murdered people in this country and others with a nerve agent, putting the public at risk also.

They are a tyrannical state that has been ignored by the west for decades and now they are threatening the NATO hierarchy they have stood up and taken notice.

Putin should have been annexed years ago and we are now paying the price. They call London the "laundry" because of the dirty money thats laundered their, ignored by politicians and big buisness.

The French and Germans are sweating buckets over their economies because they rely on Russia for certain utilities.

The same goes for China, another corrupt state that's human rights record is appalling and has been ignored by the west because it doesn't affect their gravy train, they will be watching this with great interest planning their next move.

God bless all in Ukraine 🇺🇦 🙏

Kieran Kinsella
38 Posted 28/02/2022 at 03:43:33

The IOC, FIFA, UEFA have always had a weird hypocritical stance on separation between sports and politics. South Africa and Yugoslavia banned.

Meanwhile whatever your take on the Middle East they let them all continue with Israel shuffled into UEFA to avoid the awkwardness of boycotts.

But various African countries get bans when politicians fire FA officials, but Morocco invading Western Sahara, Rwanda genocide, Idi Amin in Uganda, Liberia destroying Sierra Leone etc nothing to see hear, carry on as you were.

China invading Tibet, Tiananen Square, Uighur concentration camps, no biggie. it's all about corruption and money with the occasional “let's make an example of Serbia as no one likes them anyway”.

Christine Foster
39 Posted 28/02/2022 at 05:11:49
It wouldn't surprise me if the EPL or the FA decided they needed to show their teeth and fine or condemn any Premier League club with a Russian sponsor, just to make an example of... hmm, now who could they make an example of?
Alan J Thompson
40 Posted 28/02/2022 at 06:06:31
I suppose that if USM paid upfront then this ban would mean that we shouldn't repay the money either, just recant on the association? And would UEFA and the EPL allow some latitude on their financial rules? And does this list now include associated establishments such as Chelsea's charitable foundation that has been asked to take over the running (and the financial side?) of Abramovich's club.

A very tangled web all around but will we see a total ban on trading with Russia and any country that doesn't condemn their actions in Ukraine, even at the cost of many, and some very deep, pockets, or is that pushing the barrow too far, warwise, of course?

John Kavanagh
41 Posted 28/02/2022 at 15:06:43
I wouldn't want a single rouble of bloodstained Putin money infecting our club.
David Vaughan
42 Posted 28/02/2022 at 23:07:52
Today I stand by my earlier comments (#5)... The linked report is today's EU list of 26 individuals facing sanctions... Usmanov is third on that list (see page 5). As a (floundering) Evertonian, I am appalled... including by the allusions to Crimea. So how will the club now respond? Link
Michael Lynch
43 Posted 28/02/2022 at 23:18:35
Bramley-Moore Dock: named after a slave trader, sponsored by one of Putin's oligarchs.

It's not the best look for us at the moment is it?

Barry Hesketh
44 Posted 28/02/2022 at 23:23:17
Usmanov's assets have been frozen by the European Union. What that means for Everton Football Club, I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.


Barry Hesketh
45 Posted 28/02/2022 at 23:29:47
Here's that link again!

Usmanov Sanctioned

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