FC Barcelona Retains Fraught Partnership with 1xBet

FC Barcelona will for the time being retain its partnership with 1xBet, a global sports company with significant clout in international betting markets and a patchy history. The club, which has suffered a downturn in its net revenue, has turned to 1xBet as one of its most lucrative partnership opportunities contributing close to $10 million annually after replacing Betfair, a British betting exchange.

1xBet Is a Cash Cow with a Catch

The soccer club has decided to stick to 1xBet. The company’s founders are Russian businessmen allegedly on Interpol’s wanted list, but GamblingNews has not been able to independently verify this based on Interpol’s open database. However, FC Barcelona has pointed out that 1xBet is currently registered in Cyprus and that it exited Russia over two years ago.

1xBet was found to be conducting “illegal activities” in Russia which prompted authorities to clamp down on the operator and take its license. The company denied wrongdoing and complied with the decision. If Russia’s word may need to be taken with an ocean of salt these days, the rulings of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission are usually trusted and well-weighed.

1xBet has similarly been denied a license to operate in the United Kingdom, as the company was sponsoring illegal sports broadcasting websites, the regulator said. The founders,  Serguei Karshkov and Román Semiojin, and Dimitri Kazorin whose role as founder has not been confirmed, but he is associated with the previous two, have all faced a litany of charges in Russia, precisely in relation to illegal gambling and other fraudulent activities.

1xBet has been able to establish a bit of a repute by successfully associating itself with prominent soccer clubs. Among its former partners are Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and now Barcelona. Chelsea’s recent drama involving its now-former owner Roman Abramovich, who is facing severe sanctions because of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, has prompted journalists to ask Jürgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, what he made of the situation.

Do Fans Care Where Sponsor Money Come From?

Klopp was even asked if he cared that Chelsea’s money came from Abramovich who has close ties with the Kremlin regime and has arguably helped in some way facilitate the war. To this Klopp simply responded that the journalist had been in the United Kingdom longer than he had and whether anyone had cared – including the fans.

Klopp raised an important issue, though, and that is the fact that where the money in soccer comes from is important, and turning a blind eye is a deplorable thing to do. Morality aside, 1xBet has too many red flags to be ignored. This puts Barcelona’s current president, Joan Laporta, in a difficult position.

Does he continue collaborating with 1xBet despite the sportsbook’s notoriety or does he forego millions of dollars to uphold morality and leave the club’s consciences clean? Last year, an intermediary for 1xBet in Russia was sentenced to three years in prison. The company itself has been able to successfully secure a license in Mexico in 2020 and many other jurisdictions ever since and continues to expand its clout.

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