Chris Bryant says Alisher Usmanov will be sanctioned by UK 'pretty soon' and Everton should 'cut ties' with Uzbek-born billionaire; adds Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich 'terrified of being sanctioned'; Usmanov had assets frozen by EU on Monday in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Wednesday 2 March 2022 15:02, UK
Everton have been urged to cut ties with billionaire Alisher Usmanov by Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who last week said Roman Abramovich's assets should be seized.
Uzbek-born Usmanov is not officially involved with Everton, but his USM firm sponsors the club's training ground, while another, Megafon, is Everton Women's main shirt sponsor.
The 68-year-old on Monday had his assets frozen by the European Union in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking on Tuesday in Parliament, Labour MP Chris Bryant said he expected Usmanov to be sanctioned by the UK in the near future, and added he believes the same prospect has left Blues owner Roman Abramovich "terrified".
Last week in the House of Commons, Bryant said Abramovich should have his assets seized.
Bryant on Tuesday said: "Alisher Usmanov has already been sanctioned by the EU but not yet by the UK. But I suspect he will be pretty soon on a UK list and Everton should certainly be cutting ties with him already.
Speaking last week in the House of Commons, Bryant used Parliamentary Privilege to reference a leaked Home Office document from 2019 which suggested Roman Abramovich should not be allowed to be based in the UK.
He said: "That is nearly three years ago and yet remarkably little has been done in relation. Surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country?
"Surely we should be looking at seizing some of his assets including his £152m home?"
"Roman Abramovich - well, I think he is terrified of being sanctioned which is why he is already going to sell his home tomorrow and sell another flat as well. My anxiety is that we are taking too long about these things.
"I have a suggestion about what might help. I fear that the government is frightened of lawyers' letters from all these oligarchs' friends. One way to circumvent that is if minsters just read into the record a proceeding in parliament, all the sanctioned criteria - and then they'd be protected."
Sky Sports News has contacted Abramovich's representatives.
Usmanov released a statement on Tuesday via the International Fencing Federation where he was president since 2008. The statement read: "On 28 February 2022, I became the target of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union.
"I believe that such decision is unfair, and the reasons employed to justify the sanctions are a set of false and defamatory allegations damaging my honour, dignity, and business reputation.
"I will use all legal means to protect my honour and reputation.
"I hereby suspend the exercise of my duties as the President of the International Fencing Federation effective immediately until justice is restored."
Sky Sports News has contacted Everton and Abramovich's representatives.