Cheryl Cole may not have called time on her marriage but a bookmaker today blew the final whistle for her footballer husband Ashley.
Punters who backed the couple to split this year were told they could cash in their betting slips in the wake of lurid headlines relating to the Chelsea player’s alleged infidelities.
Bookie William Hill decided the relationship was irretrievable just days after 'X-Factor' judge Cheryl performed at the Brits without her wedding ring.
Spokesman Rupert Adams said a string of allegations linking her husband to other women had left bookmakers convinced the couple’s marriage would not survive.
He also suggested Cheryl may already have made her decision.
“I don’t think anybody in the public eye can keep taking it on the chin,” he said.
“The revelations keep coming and sometimes there is no point in fighting for this love and we think Cheryl has thrown the towel in.”
“William Hill see no reason for punters to hold on to their betting slips if they have backed Ashley and Cheryl to split this year.
“In their opinion it is a done deal and they are happy to hand over the winnings now.”
The bookmaker expects to pay out a low five-figure sum.
Those who placed bets online will have already received their cash.
The payout comes after a senior figure at Chelsea confirmed he advised Cole on how to prevent potentially damaging reports from appearing in the press.
Steve Atkins, the club’s head of media, became embroiled in the media storm after US political aide Ann Corbitt was approached by a journalist who linked her to Cole.
Mr Atkins, who claimed he was “acting in good faith”, emailed Miss Corbitt instructing her to deny the accusations and seek legal advice.
He said in a statement today: “On the summer tour a player asked me to help a woman who said she had been approached by a reporter regarding allegations that she had slept with that player.
“She and the player denied those allegations to me and she asked for advice as to how to proceed.
“Acting in good faith of those denials I told her to hire a lawyer who would probably advise her that, through them, she should deny the allegations and indicate that she would take appropriate action if the false allegations were published.”
Meanwhile PR guru Max Clifford, who is representing Miss Corbitt, said the Seattle-based 28-year-old had phoned him from the US on Wednesday to seek advice.
The local government worker, who has sold her story to the News of the World, had initially intended to keep quiet, he said.
She has recently opted to speak out for reasons which can not be disclosed.
Miss Corbitt told the paper she met Cole through a friend last July. At the time she did not realise the England defender was married.
“Having not spoken to anyone about this for nine months, she’s had people constantly knocking on her door,” Clifford said.
“But she is doing OK and she now feels hopeful she can move on and put this behind her.”
Cole’s solicitor Graham Shear, a partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), said the player had no comment to make regarding any of the allegations.
A spokesperson for Cheryl Cole said the star had no comment to make and was still in the US.