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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Footballers found guilty by BHAHeadlines
Michael Chopra

Footballers Michael Chopra and James Coppinger have been found in breach of the Rules of Racing following the outcome of a British Horseracing Authority investigation into alleged corruption.

Chopra was found in breach of committing corrupt and fraudulent practices and offering a bribe, while Coppinger was found guilty of corrupt and fraudulent practices.

At the centre of the investigation were charges relating to Flat jockey Andrew Heffernan, who has most recently been riding in Australia. He was found in breach of all charges brought against him by a BHA disciplinary panel, which published its results after a hearing that started on January 14 and lasted four days.

Along with Ipswich Town striker Chopra and Doncaster Rovers midfielder Coppinger, former England Under-21 international Mark Wilson was another to face charges. Wilson, like Chopra, was found in breach of committing corrupt and fraudulent practices and offering a bribe.

The allegations centred on horses being laid to lose on betting exchanges in races that took place between November 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011. The charges related to Heffernan's riding of three horses - Wanchai Whisper, Gallantry and Silver Guest.

Five other individuals - Paul Garner, Yogesh Joshee, Douglas Shelley, Kelly Inglis and Pravin Shingardia - were also found in breach. The BHA said all charges brought against those involved in the case were successful.

Heffernan was charged with communicating directly or indirectly to one or more betting exchange account holders information relating to the prospects in the race of that horse.

He was 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.

Penalties for those involved are expected to be announced later this afternoon by the BHA's disciplinary panel following further hearings.

Speaking earlier this month, Chopra said he could not afford to pay the £50,000 legal fees to defend himself during the inquiry and also said he would welcome any sanctions as he attempts to cure a gambling addiction. In a statement today, Ipswich Town said the player had nothing further to add at this stage.

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