FIE President Alisher Usmanov has donated $38 million to the organisation in the last seven years ©Getty Images

Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbekistan-born Russian businessman who became President of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) in 2008, has gifted the body over CHF37 million (£25 million/$37.5 million/€34 million) in the past seven years.

This emerges from scrutiny of the FIE’s published accounts and financial reports, commencing in October 2008.

The sum is far from enormous for Usmanov - a billionaire with shareholdings in leading Russian mining, mobile phone and internet companies, as well as Arsenal Football Club - who is believed to be Russia’s richest man, worth $14.1 billion (£9.3 billion/€12.8 billion), according to Forbes magazine. 

In the context of the FIE’s finances, however, it is absolutely colossal.

It equates to almost as much as the $38.6 million (£25.5 million/€35 million) that constitutes fencing’s aggregate share of the revenues from the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

It compares with less than CHF1 million (£672,000/$1.1 million/€924,000) which the financial documents indicate that the FIE generated from sponsorship over the 2008-2014 period and just over CHF260,000 (£175,000/$265,000/€240,000) that it appears to have earned from broadcast rights.

The FIE’s budget for 2015 foresees donations of CHF5.5 million (£3.7 million/$5.6 million/€5.1 million), although it is not actually stipulated whether these too would come from Usmanov, and just CHF1.23 million (£827,000/$1.25 million/€1.13 million) of revenue from other sources.

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Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has donated $38 million to the International Fencing Federation ©FIE

Perhaps not surprisingly, Usmanov - who has founded an international charity fund for the future of fencing, the sport practised by both International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and chair of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission Claudia Bokel - was re-elected unopposed to a second term as FIE President in Moscow in December 2012.

As detailed by the financial documents, Usmanov donated CHF5.6 million (£3.8 million/$5.7 million/€5.2 million) to the Federation in the year to September 2009 and a further CHF4.9 million (£3.3 million/$5 million/€4.5 million) over the subsequent nine months, when the FIE changed its financial year-end to June.

The figure rose to CHF6.2 million (£4.1 million/$6.3 million/€5.7 million) in 2010-2011: the financial report for the period commented on the “generosity of the President’s donation fund, which, in the face of the euro and dollar crises, contributed $1.5 million (£1.1 million/$1.6 million/€1.4 million) more than budgeted to offset the severe declines in the value of the euros and the dollars in our accounts when measured in Swiss francs, our book-keeping currency”.

A contribution of CHF5.3 million (£3.5 million/$5.4 million/€4.9 million) in 2011-2012 was followed by a jump to fractionally under CHF10 million (£6.7 million/$10.2 million/€9.2 million) the following year, with part of the money earmarked for the FIE’s centenary.

Usmanov’s donations dropped back to CHF4.3 million (£2.9 million/$4.4 million/€4 million) in 2013-2014 and a further CHF1 million (£672,000/$1.1 million/€924,000) over the six months from July to December 2014, with the FIE again changing its financial year-end.

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