One of England’s most popular footballers owes a staggering £1million in unpaid gambling debts.
The talented star earns around £100,000 a week playing for a major Premier League club, and has represented his country in international matches at home and abroad.
At least one English bookie is pressing him to pay up, but he is not responding.
The experienced player has been gambling ferociously on football and racehorses. It is known that he has splashed out on crucial games in both the Premier League and the Champions League. Bookies are also chasing a talented European midfielder who plays for another top Premier League club, who is refusing to pay about £100,000 lost on horses and football.
Both names have been leaked to the Daily Express, together with a firm proviso that neither player is identified until bookies are given one more chance to retrieve their debts.
Most of the hefty wagers have been channelled through international commission agencies, and at least one is more than £30,000 out of pocket.
A spokesman for this large European operation, which accepts bets from bookmakers and high-rolling punters, said last night: “I know of betting issues regarding the two footballers you’ve just mentioned, but we have a strict policy of not discussing anything that involves a client.
“All I’m prepared to say is that I’m aware of one bookmaker who has taken big bets from both these players. One of them owes a lot of money – around £1m. Maybe a bookmaker will end up taking him to Tattersalls Committee, who settle horse-racing betting disputes of this nature.
“I’d be disappointed to see it going that far, as he’s such a big name in football, and it could cause him no end of problems.
“The other player owes in the region of £100,000, but he’s also proving difficult to pin down.
“We are the middle-men. If a punter owes money, then it’s up to the bookmaker who accepted the bets in the first place to chase for it.”