CHELSEA and Liverpool face hefty fines unless they ditch Russian betting partner, 1xBet.
The two Premier League clubs have been ordered to stop promoting the firm or face prosecution after they lost their licence allowing them to operate in the UK last month, say The Times.
Harry Kane, Willian and Virgil van Dijk have all helped plug 1xBet – with Tottenham cancelled their partnership after the Russian firm were blacklisted in the UK.
The Gambling Commission revealed they spoke with Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool, warning them to stop promoting immediately.
They were told if they fail to comply they would face unlimited fines and even 51 weeks in prison.
In light of the revelation, Tottenham swiftly ditched 1xBet as a sponsor – in what is the first major intervention by a regulator over gambling firms bankrolling football.
The Russian firm have been blacklisted by regulators for being used to promote betting on children's sports, cockfighting and even a pornographic casino.
1xBet is also said to be one of the biggest advertisers on a host of sites who host illegal Premier League live streams.
On the issue, Campaign for Fairer Gambling spokesperson Matt Zarb-Cousin described the situation as "shocking".
Zarb-Cousin said: “It is shocking that these football clubs failed to do the most basic due diligence checks on 1xBet before signing up for these multi-million-pound deals.
"It’s an absolute debacle.”
1xBet was launched in 2007, with Spurs making them their global betting in 2018, with Liverpool and Chelsea following suit earlier this summer.
In July, The Times exposed the Russian firm for helping fuel a youth gambling crisis in Kenya.
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