LONDON: Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has increased his association with Everton after paying £30 million to secure an exclusive option on naming rights for the Premier League club’s proposed new stadium.
Uzbekistan-born Usmanov, who sold his shares in Arsenal in 2018, is a long-time business partner of Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.
The 66-year-old has been linked with buying a stake in the Merseyside team.
Usmanov’s holding company USM already sponsors Everton’s Finch Farm training ground and he has now ploughed in further money with an agreement in place for the naming rights for the new arena at Bramley-Moore Dock, which is scheduled to be completed by 2023.
A contract has already been agreed on a deal for the rights for the new ground and Usmanov’s £30 million buys him first option of pursuing that at current market rates once the build is near completion.
Usmanov’s investment was revealed as Everton published accounts for 13 months – due to a realignment of their accounting period – showing the club made a loss of £111.9 million despite posting the second-highest revenues in their history of £188 million.
Everton’s chief finance and commercial officer Sasha Ryazantsev said Moshiri “continues to invest in the club and is committed to ensuring the new stadium project progresses” and the majority shareholder is “excited by the plans and the progress made”.