Footballers face race fixing charges

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DONCASTER Rovers midfielder James Coppinger and former Barnsley striker Michael Chopra have been charged with race fixing by the British Horseracing Authority.

Former Rovers midfielder Mark Wilson is also among the group of eight men accused of conspiring to commit betting fraud with jockey Andrew Heffernan.

All three players have been charged with ‘conspiring to commit a corrupt and fraudulent practice’ in relation to races that took place between November 2010 and March 2011.

They are accused of receiving information from Heffernan, who now races in Australia, that would give them an unfair advantage in the betting market.

Ipswich Town striker Chopra, aged 28, and Coppinger, 31, who is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest, are also accused of bribing the jockey.

The charges, which come after a lengthy investigation by the British Horseracing Authority, concern races involving the horses Wanchai Whisper, Gallantry and Silver Guest at Lingfield and Kempton.

If found guilty, the three footballers would face bans of at least three years from any involvement in racing, including attending racecourses.

Coppinger is set to return to Doncaster in January after a loan spell at Forest, while while former Manchester United trainee Wilson is currently unattached.