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Volume 10 No. 22

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Championship Club Ipswich Town striker Michael Chopra "has been charged with race fixing by the British Horseracing Authority," according to Paul Kelso of the London INDEPENDENT. A BHA investigation revealed that Chopra is one of three footballers charged with breaches of the rules of racing, including offering a bribe to jockey Andrew Heffernan. Chopra, Nottingham Forest midfielder James Coppinger, and former ManU and England under-21 int'l Mark Wilson, currently unattached, are "alleged to have conspired with Heffernan to fix races." Chopra, Coppinger and Wilson are all charged with conspiring to “commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice” as part of a fixing ring that also included five other individuals. Chopra and Wilson are also "charged with offering bribes" to Heffernan. If found guilty, the footballers face a minimum three-year ban from involvement with racing, including attending racecourses. The Football Association is aware of the charges, but is "unlikely to take any action against the players immediately." It will "let the BHA process run its course before considering any disciplinary measures" (TELEGRAPH, 10/4). The PA reported that Heffernan is also charged with "giving information in return for some reward, that he offered to receive or received a bribe and that he intentionally failed to ensure that a horse ridden by him was run on its merits." No comment has been offered by those charged, although "it is thought that they will deny the allegations" (PA, 10/4).