PADDY Power has been forced to apologise after offering 66/1 odds on dead former England international Ugo Ehiogu becoming a manager.
The Irish bookmakers briefly advertised odds of 66/1 on Ehiogu taking charge of Birmingham City after Harry Redknapp was sacked on Saturday.
Ehiogu, who tragically died of a cardiac arrest in April, was listed along with ex-England boss Sam Allardyce and former Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer – who were both given odds of 33/1.
His inclusion sparked anger on social media, with many branding Paddy Power’s gaffe “sick” and in “pretty poor taste”.
The gambling site – which also offered odds of 2,500/1 on Brummie rockstar Ozzy Osbourne replacing Redknapp – has apologised for what it called a “genuine error”.
In a statement, Paddy Power apologised to Ehiogu's family and said that no offence was intended.
"This was a genuine error, a trader re-used an old market as a template for this one, and didn't notice that Mr Ehiogu was included," the bookmaker said.
"Obviously, that was a mistake, one which was rectified as soon as it was spotted, within minutes."
— Chris AVFC Haywood (@djchris2000) September 17, 2017
— Rob Wildey (@robwil30) September 18, 2017
Hi Matt. This was a genuine error. Ugo was removed from the market as soon as we realised. Apologies.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) September 17, 2017
Customers were able to put money on Ehiogu for "less than five minutes" before the error was discovered, Paddy Power said.
No-one actually took that particular bet, the company added.
Matt Zarb-Cousin of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling said he hoped the gaffe was “a mistake, not a joke”.
Replying to Twitter users individually, Paddy Power apologised and said the odds were “removed as soon as we realised”.
Ugo Ehiogu made more than 200 appearances for Aston Villa between 1991 and 2000 before spending seven years at Middlesbrough.
In April 1993, the defender became the first black player to captain an England team in a competitive match for the England U21s against Holland.
Tragic Ehiogu was managing Tottenham Hotspur U23s when he collapsed at their training ground on April 20 this year, dying in hospital the following morning aged just 44.