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Everton seals training ground deal with USM Holdings

USM Holdings, the holding company for the business interests of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, has agreed a deal to take on naming rights to Finch Farm, the training ground of English Premier League football club Everton.

The five-year deal is effective immediately and will run until January 2022. The facility will be renamed as USM Finch Farm as part of the deal. USM Holdings, of which Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri is chairman of the board, becomes the club’s first-ever training ground partner.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Everton chief executive Robert Elstone confirmed during the club’s annual general meeting on Wednesday that new revenues totalling £75m (€88m/$93m) had been secured, including a shirt sponsorship contract and a training ground naming-rights partner.

USM Holdings will also be granted a range of global marketing rights, such as presence on media interview backdrops, LED advertising at Everton’s Goodison Park stadium, hospitality packages and player access for brands within the group.

Elstone said: “I’m sure that the marketing platform this provides USM and its businesses will help them achieve their growth objectives. It is a significant and exciting deal for Everton as we continue to grow our commercial revenues.

"We’ve invested heavily into our training facilities over recent years and this deal means we can continue to provide top-class facilities, which we know plays an important role in attracting the best playing talent, from academy right through to first-team.”

Businesses within USM Holdings include Metalloinvest, the largest mining company in Russia and the CIS; Baikal Mining Company, which owns one of the largest copper reserves in the world; MegaFon, one of the major telecommunications operators in Russia, and Mail.Ru Group, the Russian internet leader and owner of Russia’s most popular social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki.

Ivan Streshinsky, member of the board of directors of USM Holdings, said: “The naming of Finch Farm, and the extensive package of marketing rights, provides USM and the businesses within our group with unique year-round global media exposure. We’ve done considerable research into what this partnership can deliver for us and we’re very excited about the difference this will make as we continue to build our brands.”

Usmanov holds a 30 per cent stake in Everton’s Premier League rival, Arsenal.