BOOKMAKERS Ladbrokes have pulled the plug on their betting markets on the future of 13-year-old Celtic FC player Karamoko Dembele after heavy criticism.
The Scottish Professional Football League [SPFL] main sponsors came under fire this week for offering customers the chance to gamble on the talented adolescent one day captaining the Celtic senior side (12/1) or moving to Barcelona (33/1).
Dembele made headlines on Monday after playing in a competitive game for Celtic Under-20s side against Hearts, a move which also attracted criticism of Celtic for jeopardising the teenager’s prospects.
Ladbrokes – one of the biggest bookmakers in Britain – now accept their error of judgement having been put under pressure to re-think their markets by Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner Tam Baillie.
“We’ve written to the Children’s Commissioner and informed the SPFL of our letter, confirming no bets were taken on this market,” a Ladbrokes spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Celtic’s Head of Youth, Chris McCart, has no regrets over using the youngster in a game against adults, but accepts that Dembele’s talent must be nurtured with care.
He told the club’s official website: “The fact that he was playing against other players seven years his senior gives an indication of the quality this young boy possesses and it was also fitting that he came on for Jack Aitchison, the club’s youngest-ever goal scorer.
“Karamoko is still a young boy and has a lot of growing to do, both physically and mentally. The coaches at our Under 13 and 14 levels have been fantastic in nurturing his potential but it is crucial that we do not push him too far, too soon.”