Moshiri steps down from USM board

Thursday, 3 March, 2022 38comments  |  Jump to last

Farhad Moshiri is severing his links with USM Holdings, the Russia-based conglomerate that he helped found with oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

According to The Telegraph, Everton's majority shareholder has stepped down from the board of the firm and will, presumably, resign as Chairman as the club moves to distance itself from Usmanov in the wake of Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine last week.

The move, reportedly confirmed by business databases in Moscow, comes after Everton announced they were suspending their sponsorship deals with USM Holdings and two telecoms subsidiaries, MegaFon and Yota.

Signage relating to MegaFon was removed from Goodison Park overnight and Everton Women played last night's match against Aston Villa with blank jerseys after the same company's logo was dropped from their kit.

Article continues below video content

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has joined the European Union in initiating sanctions of Usmanov whose mega-yacht was seized by German officials yesterday, a day after the 68-year-old Uzbek-born billionaire's private jet was tracked leaving Munich.


Reader Comments (38)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:02:34
Wow, Barry. Wow. GREAT catch.

From that article:

Moshiri stepped down from the board of USM, a Russian holding company that Usmanov founded, within hours of suspending the club's multiple sponsorship ties.

That's massive. Well done, Mr. Moshiri.

The article also says the club's sponsorship deals with Usmanov were worth £20 million per season, but Everton has decided to move on "permanently without Usmanov's support."

Joe McMahon
2 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:22:49
The right thing to do.
Michael Williams
3 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:22:56
Welcome news. I hope this is real in all aspects and not just words.
Michael Kenrick
4 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:25:27
Seems like a smart decision to underline his individual identity (and money), separate and distinct from Uncle Alisherand his links to Putin...

Or is it?

Benn Chambers
5 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:26:44
Moshiri resigns an hour before Usmanov is sanctioned by U.K. He's obviously had the heads up from Usmanov beforehand. It had to happen, really. Some things are far more important than football and what's happening in Ukraine is certainly much more important than football.

I will say this though, this club is absolutely cursed. It really is. I wait with baited breath to see what Moshiri says and does now but I'd be amazed if that stadium gets built now. We'll be Sunderland in a couple of years.

Will Mabon
6 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:35:29
Benn, a Telegraph article cited on another thread claimed Usmanov's financial assistance as currently worth 20 million per year. If this is true then it's of little consequence to continued operations.

The financing of the stadium is of course still an unknown. Maybe there was no significant involvement planned to include Usmanov in that area, maybe it was pivotal. We just have to wait and see on that one.

Mike Oates
7 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:37:03
Right thing completely, but as Benn # 5 says, we are cursed.

Hope not but can see Bramley Moore taking a big hit over project timing, if not cessation of build totally.

Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:38:07
Emphasizes how pathetic our commercial marketing has been. Prior to Moshiri we were getting peanuts from Kenyan betting firms. Then Moshiri came along and we got more lucrative deals from firms that he is involved with. No legitimate investment from any unrelated entity of worth.
Soren Moyer
9 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:42:28
Are we skint again lol? I'm sure Usmanov and other oligarchs have had enough time to move around their assets.
Pat Kelly
10 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:43:10
Presumably USM branding has been removed from Finch Farm. How much of this is window dressing who knows but Everton can't afford any underhand funding from Usmanov from here on.

As noted elsewhere, the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is likely to be stalled or at least delayed. Future ownership of the Club could also be in play shortly if Usmanov is the real beneficial owner. Not to mention what would happen if we're relegated.

Benn Chambers
11 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:45:21
I worry about how we are going to plug the gap. Bottom 5 premier league teams, aren’t really in any position to demand lucrative sponsorships. There is no doubt Usmanov paid over the odds as a favour to his mate.

I have no idea how involved Usmanov really is with us, neither do I have any idea how heavily involved he is with Putin and the Russian state. I just hope that ghoul stops reeking havoc and causing war (fingers crossed he’s bumped off soon) and I just hope we stay up. Both currently seem unlikely.

The trouble that horrible bastard has caused is beyond comprehension. He’s has literally effected everything in the world and I can’t even imagine what the people of Ukraine are going through.

Bobby Mallon
13 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:50:30
Kieran, that’s just how business works. If you had a company that needed sponsorship and it was between your best mate and me I know who you would choose
Bill Watson
14 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:54:27
The current USM deal was signed in 2017 and was due to expire this year anyway.

The money for the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock was supposedly being raised on the internatonal money markets and not directly from Usmanov although all has been quiet on that front for months.

Who knows how the current international situation will affect raising loans?

Mike Gaynes
15 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:55:31
Mike #7, we ain't cursed.

Cursed is being a nice quiet family living in an apartment in Kharkiv and a Russian shell comes through the window because some egomaniac psycho a thousand miles away ordered it.

Kieran Kinsella
16 Posted 03/03/2022 at 19:56:04

You don't know my best mate, I'd roll the dice on you, lol.

Benn Chambers
17 Posted 03/03/2022 at 20:06:12
Mike #15

It’s a figure of speech.

No one even begins to compare anything that’s going on with us, to that of what those poor people of Ukraine are going through. Let’s not go there eh. That’s being silly. We all know that nothing compares to their desperate situation.

In football terms, we are absolutely cursed. Fact. Only we could find our “saviour” buyer and proceed to blow £400m on shite and have fuck all but a relegation battle to show for it, or buyer who turns out to be best mate of Putins best mate. Finally get our stadium move, or so we thought, and this shit happens.

Whilst we’re only a football club and it’s only a game, and it all pales in to utter insignificance compared to Ukraine, in purely footballing terms and us as a club, we are cursed. Absolutely cursed.

Ernie Baywood
18 Posted 03/03/2022 at 20:11:51
Is that how it works, Mike?

Personally, I'm having quite a rough time at the moment. "Rough? Rough is being attacked by Russians."

You can still consider issues for people, clubs, organisations, businesses etc without minimising the conflict in Ukraine.

Stan Schofield
19 Posted 03/03/2022 at 21:21:49
Mike@15: Yes, we know all that. But in the specific context of football, EFC is bloody cursed!
Derek Thomas
20 Posted 03/03/2022 at 22:25:29
Like an episode of Billions this, all set against the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine.
Moshiri and Everton reading the correctly room and acting accordingly.

Alleged old quote:
Reporter; "Tell me Prime Minister what will stop your Govt. carrying out its policies?"
MacMillan; "Events, dear boy, Events."

Let's see how the plot twists in a year, or less, maybe much less, because, as Harold Wilson said; "A week is a long time in Politics."

With Abramovich writing off (apparently) £1.5 Billion for Chelsea, does this drive another hole through FFP.
If it does, will we be allowed to use it...or is it just for Chelsea.

In theory (yes I know the taxman frowns upon that sort of carry on) you can give money to who so ever you want. Could Moshiri give money to Everton? (Mr Premier League, do you really want a founder member of both the Football League and the Premier League to go under?? which might be a dangerous question to get an answer to if you don't play in red, but thats another story) and that's without going into who gave it to him and when.

Darn these pesky 'Events.'

Colin Glassar
21 Posted 03/03/2022 at 22:27:34
I’m sure we’ll see a photo of a manitou doing wheelies on BMD tomorrow.
Jerome Shields
22 Posted 03/03/2022 at 22:49:28
Bill #14,

That's my understanding of the USM sponsorship and the likely raising of finance. As for Moshiri standing down from USM, it is preempting sanctions and associate connections.

On complex building projects, there are bonds and insurance that have to be in place before the contract starts. These distancing moves by the club and Moshiri could be to prevent a null-and/void insurance situation, as well as avoiding any contagion factors, resulting from being connected to a sanctioned individual or company.

Just as with Everton, Moshiri's shareholding in USM is probably offshore.

Mike Gaynes
23 Posted 03/03/2022 at 23:06:30
Jerome #22, as a UK citizen, Moshiri himself cannot be sanctioned. USM could be, but not Moshiri himself.
Paul Birmingham
24 Posted 03/03/2022 at 23:12:31
The club has acted decisively, and done the right thing.

It’s time to move on, and as Evertonians, we are used to riding the storms of football, and what life brings.

This will hopefully inspire Everton to victory on Monday night at Spurs.

Mark Ryan
25 Posted 04/03/2022 at 01:25:08
In time, it may just be that we can re-connect with Mr Usmanov. It’s fair to say he didn't invade Ukraine. I have no issue with him at this point in time, or any other Russians. I take issue with Putin
Kieran Kinsella
26 Posted 04/03/2022 at 04:54:18
Incredible story on the BBC, the manager of Sheriff Tiraspol who beat Real Madrid this season in the Champions League has quit his job at the Moldovan team aged 56 and returned to Ukraine to enlist in the army.

Just think about that, a middle-aged guy with a good job and even more lucrative prospects walking away and signing up as an older guy to put his life on the line. The guy has a lot of bravery and integrity. God bless him. I hope he and his comrades stay safe.

Danny O’Neill
27 Posted 04/03/2022 at 05:59:07
I guess now we will see how serious Mr Moshiri is. It's his train set now. Maybe he'll sort the board room out.
Andrew Grey
28 Posted 04/03/2022 at 10:41:32
This is great news.

Now we and the footballing authorities need to double down and get rid of all Israeli money and links for obvious reasons, Saudi money for it's destruction of Yemen, USA & er UK money for providing arms and training, bombing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, rendition, torture and many other things.

These are just a few so pretty soon we will all be funding our clubs ourselves, that is until another bottle is thrown and we are removed too!

Russian actions in Ukraine are despicable but I'm fed up with the media for choosing which bad boys we go after and which ones we don't.

I was lucky enough to travel to the USSR for work at the end of the Cold War and I found out from ordinary people that they were petrified of the West, I said "No, it's us that's scared of you!"

Turns out that we are just the same, scared of whatever the other side is capable of. Why? Ask the politicians and arms dealers.

Dave Roberts
29 Posted 04/03/2022 at 11:52:03
So many concrete castles built on mountains of sand!

From wondering whether Usmanov's role was to somehow financially support his mate buying shares in Everton to suspicions he may be the real owner. In fact, we don't have an owner as such – we have a majority shareholder.

There's not an iota of evidence that Usmanov's interest in Everton goes beyond the sponsorship of his companies, companies in which Moshiri himself was until today involved, being Chairman of one of them. So the sponsorships might not even have been Usmanov's idea.

It's worth remembering too that, when Moshiri commenced buying up shares in Everton, Usmanov was still with Arsenal and trying, unsuccessfully, to become the majority shareholder of that club. Consequently, it would have been impossible for him to formulate any kind of plan to act in cahoots with Moshiri at Everton. That would have been against the rules in every respect.

True, such ideas might have arisen after Usmanov sold his Arsenal shares but I doubt it because the time to bring that to fruition would have been last summer, when a new company could have been formed and accordingly have immunity from FFP for a whole financial year. This is what Newcastle tried to do but couldn't get their deal over the line quickly enough. So their new company only had a financial advantage from last January.

There doesn't seem to be any reason to believe that the ending of these sponsorships also means the departure of some huge investor in Everton. There is absolutely no evidence of that.

Derek Taylor
30 Posted 04/03/2022 at 12:40:55
It's only a suspension. Not a complete withdrawal as at Chelsea. I presume the Club are hoping for re-engagement once the war is over?
Dave Roberts
31 Posted 04/03/2022 at 13:06:26
Chelsea didn't do any withdrawing — Abramovich did.
Si Cooper
32 Posted 04/03/2022 at 14:21:49
Until Russia invaded Ukraine, the likes of Usmanov were simply capitalists who had leveraged the advantages they gained from their close ties to Putin. That's the problem with capitalism, it is an amoral system so it doesn't necessarily intimate a moral code. It's probably best exploited by those who have none.

I have some sympathy for the oligarchs not rushing to denounce Putin as I imagine it's probably quite difficult to extricate yourself from his ‘circle of trust' if you want to retain life and liberty never mind wealth and influence.

If they have the choice, however, I would much rather they ‘retire' from accumulating wealth / power and rely on what they've banked, and very publicly speak out against what Putin has done.

Jerome Shields
33 Posted 04/03/2022 at 15:12:34
Mike #23,

Thanks. I kept thinking of Moshiri in terms of Monaco residency, but of course you are right: he is a UK citizen.

Christopher Nicholls
34 Posted 04/03/2022 at 16:19:22
A lot of bridges would need to be crossed before I would welcome Usmanov back into the Everton fold. The entire grey area ties were hardly a positive.

I hope the club moves on with purpose. The Premier League remains one of the most followed activities, globally, and is still attractive to brands looking to benefit from association.

More importantly, let's all do what we can to bring the terrible invasion of Ukraine to peaceful end as swiftly as possible.

Oliver Molloy
35 Posted 06/03/2022 at 21:38:26
Excuse me for being a cynical fucker, he's only doing what he has to do in the face of whats going on.

All these mega rich billionaires should be hiring a fucking hit man for Putin, this guy is a psychopath and IS capable of launching a nuclear attack – this is scary stuff, people.

Paul Hewitt
36 Posted 06/03/2022 at 21:52:38
Oliver @35. If Putin tried to set off nukes, I'm pretty sure even his own generals would stop him.
Oliver Molloy
37 Posted 06/03/2022 at 22:25:22

We must all hope you are right!

John Skelly
38 Posted 07/03/2022 at 17:15:06
Off topic here, a truck driver carrying ecclesiastical supplies today reversed his truck through the Russian embassy gates today here in Dublin.

I kid you not cue the father Ted jokes.

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