Alisher Usmanov has stepped down as President of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), after the European Union (EU) imposed economic sanctions on him over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Uzbekistan-born billionaire said he believed the decision was “unfair”, and vowed to challenge the measures imposed.
Usmanov was elected unopposed for a fourth term as FIE President last November, receiving congratulations from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
According to insidethegames, Usmanov has previously calculated that he donated around CHF80 million (£65 million/$87 million/€77 million) to fencing’s world governing body over the course of three Olympic cycles to 2020.
The 68-year old has opted to “suspend the exercise of my duties as President of the International Fencing Federation effective immediately until justice is restored”, and vowed to challenge the EU’s sanctions.
Usmanov had been FEI President since 2008.
“On 28 February 2022 I became the target of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union,” a statement from Usmanov read.
“I believe that such a decision is unfair, and the reasons employed to justify the sanctions are a set of false and defamatory allegations damaging my honor (sic), dignity, and business reputation.