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Usmanov purchases naming rights option to new Everton stadium

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

A naming rights option to Everton’s proposed new stadium has been purchased by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s holding company USM.

The former Arsenal shareholder, a business partner of Everton’s owner, Farhad Moshiri, has purchased the rights for £30m ($38.4m/€34.5m), further developing his investment in the Merseyside club.

USM is already the title sponsor to its Finch Farm training ground in a £12m deal for the 2018-19 season, twice the amount paid in 2017-18.

The club last year applied for planning permission for a £500m, 52,000-seat stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock on Liverpool’s waterfront. The new venue is expected to open in 2023.

Sasha Ryazantsev, chief finance and commercial officer at Everton, said: “This innovative deal secures additional commercial revenue for the club and the option premium we are due to receive will be exclusively used as the club’s further contribution to the project’s equity.”

The agreement was one of several pieces of news to emerge from the Premier League outfit’s AGM, held yesterday (Tuesday).

Chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale admitted the club would, ideally, prefer not to be sponsored by a gambling company. Everton’s main shirt sponsor is Kenyan betting brand SportPesa.

She said: “In an ideal world moving forward we would look to have a different type of sponsor on the front of our shirts like all football clubs would, but that is a commercial decision that we make as a football club.

“SportPesa have actually been a fantastic partner to Everton Football Club in terms of the funds they have given to support Everton in the Community, but I do agree it is responsible betting. We can’t stop people taking a choice but certainly don’t want to be responsible for driving irresponsible betting.”

Despite its failure to qualify for European football for the 2019-20 season, Everton’s turnover rose to £187.7m in the financial year to 2018, the second-highest in its history.

However, there was an overall record loss of £111.8m, a fall from a deficit of £13.1m in the year to 2018.