Real Madrid might not be ready to admit that Barcelona have won La Liga yet, but one bookmaker has announced today that they are paying out the Catalan side as champions.
Expekt.com have released a statement this afternoon, confirming that any bets made on Barcelona to win the league will be paid out, even though there are still 18 games left in the season.
"We declare that the title race is over in Spain and congratulate our customers who backed Barcelona to win the Spanish league. The money will start to be paid out to their accounts on Tuesday," said Dan Vikman, press officer for the firm.
This decision by Expect is apparently not just based on the fact that Barcelona are 12 points clear at the top but also the fact they believe they are too strong to drop points.
"We see no big risk with the squad that Barcelona have. They will keep the other teams behind them during the spring, and, if the unlikely should happen, and another team would win, we will make more customers happy later this year and pay out again," declared Vikman.
The news will no doubt be music to the ears of punters who backed Barcelona with Expect, especially as at the start of the season Real Madrid were 1.7 favourites and Barcelona were priced at 2.35.
The good news for those who didn't back Barcelona is that the firm will still pay out if another side can usurp the Catalans at the top of the table, not that they are expecting it to happen.
"Of course, all other league winner bets will still be valid. If another team should win the Spanish league, we will pay out on them as well, but even if there are 18 rounds to go, we see no competition," declared Vikman.
One of the reasons for the company announcing the decision is to probably stop punters betting on Barcelona, even if they are as short-priced at 1.04.
The company could not release figures about how much they would be paying out, but confirmed that it will be a six figure sum in Euros.