A trio of football players all find themselves in hot water after being charged with offering bribes to a horse jockey in order to manipulate horse racing activities, the British Horseracing Authority reports.
The three footballers have been identified as former Manchester United and Doncaster Rovers midfielder Mark Wilson, Ipswich striker Michael Chopra, and Nottingham Forest midfielder James Coppinger.
In a statement, the British Horseracing Authority said: “Following an investigation into suspicious betting activity on a number of races, the British Horseracing Authority has charged nine individuals with serious breaches of the Rules of Racing.”
The football players are three of nine individuals charged and also includes jockey Andrew Heffernan and five other individuals that have also been identified as Paul Garner, Kelly Inglis, Yogesh Joshee, Douglas Shelley, Pravin Shingadia.All nine individuals have been charged with a breach of Rule (A)41.2 of the Rules of Racing in that they conspired with other persons to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice.
“The allegations focus on horses being laid to lose on betting exchanges in races that took place between 1st November 2010 and 31st March 2011,” the BHA added.
If these charges have any merit to them, this becomes the latest episode of football players behaving badly and yet another stain to the credibility and integrity of these guys. Sure, they didn’t fix any of their actual matches, but the mere insinuation of bribing a horse racing jockey isn’t exactly the kind of thing that endears you to governing bodies like the BHA, much less to fans who have mistakenly identified you as an upstanding role model.
No announcement yet on when a hearing is going to take place, but you can be sure that if these guys are convicted of the charges levied against them, the full hammer of the law will fall quickly and unmercifully.