Everton investor Alisher Usmanov has reportedly been sanctioned by the EU due to his close ties with Vladimir Putin.

In a report published by Daily Telegraph, Alisher Usmanov has become the latest Russian billionaire to be sanctioned by the European Union for his close ties with Vladimir Putin. His personal assets are set to be frozen, with the EU placing him on its growing sanction list.

Usmanov is known in the footballing world for his investments in English football, with the Russian having sponsorship deals with Everton.

A former stakeholder at Arsenal, Usmanov entered a five-year relationship with Everton in 2017, with his holding company USM, over the naming rights of the club’s training ground, Finch Farm. The Russian also has close ties with Everton’s majority stakeholder Farhad Moshiri while Megafon, a company where he is the stakeholder, is one of the prime sponsors of the Everton women’s team.

The sanction comes after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has left eastern Europe in turmoil. The whole footballing world has been swift to sanction Russia, with FIFA recently banning the national team and the clubs from taking part in international or continental competitions.

“Alisher Usmanov is a pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin,” EU said, in an official statement. Usmanov was cited by the EU for “actively supported materially or financially Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine”.

The 68-year-old had previously boasted about his relationship with Putin and is believed to be an extremely pro-Kremlin figure. “I am proud that I know Putin, and the fact that everybody does not like him is not Putin’s problem. I don’t think the world loved Truman after Nagasaki,” he said in a 2010 interview with Forbes.

It remains unclear how Usmanov’s sanction can affect Everton, but the report speculates that the club might look to remove the Megafon sponsorship from the women’s team. There could be calls to sever the relationship with ASM as well, which could seriously hinder the club’s rebuilding plans under Frank Lampard.

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