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Children’s commissioner warning on football ‘child exploitation’

Karamoko Dembele. PIC ONLY TO BE USED ONCEImage copyright
Jamie Williamson

Image caption

Karamoko Dembele makes his under 20s debut against Hearts on Monday

Scotland’s children’s commissioner has called for regulation to stop the exploitation of children by professional football clubs.

Tam Baillie said a “wait and see” approach was no longer appropriate.

His comments follow the decision by Celtic to feature 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele in its under-20 side against Hearts on Monday.

Bookmaker Ladbrokes has since apologised for taking bets on the child’s future prospects.

Dembele, who was born in London in 2003 and whose parents come from Ivory Coast, joined Celtic in July 2013.

Since then he has been fast-tracked to appear with players seven years his senior.

‘Commodification of children’

Following his appearance on Monday, SPFL sponsor Ladbrokes began offering odds of 7/4 on him becoming the youngest Celtic player in history.

However, the firm has since apologised and written to Mr Baillie saying it has closed the book on him and taken no bets.

In a statement the bookmaker said: “We have written to the children’s commissioner this morning, and informed the SPFL of our letter, confirming that no bets were taken on this market before it was removed and to reaffirm our commitment to responsible gambling.