By Chris Wright
“Penalty? I’ll chuck you a fiver and a bag of lemon bon-bons?”
Ipswich striker Michael Chopra (government name: Rocky Michael Chopra) is one of three footballers who have been accused of offering bribes to jockey Andrew Heffernan following a lengthy investigation by the British Horseracing Authority.
Nottingham Forest’s James Coppinger and former Manchester United and England U21 midfielder Mark Wilson, who is currently without a club, are alleged to have colluded with Chopra in attempting to bribe 24-year-old jockey Heffernan to fix races.
All three men have been charged with conspiring to “commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice” under the rules of racing.
This from the Telegraph:
“If found guilty of the charges they face long bans from involvement with racing, including attending racecourses or talking to licensed individuals. The entry-level for the offences is a three-year ban.
“Heffernan, who is now based in Australia, faces five charges of corruption, including one of stopping a horse, one of accepting a bribe and two of breaking the rules regarding the use of inside information.
“If found guilty of stopping a horse – deliberately preventing it winning – he could be banned for eight years.”
Chopra has come clean in recent years about his crippling gambling addiction, admitting to having lost over £1 million (£20,000 a day at one point) over the course of a few years, and which has seen him admitted to rehab and the Sporting Chance clinic on several occasions.
Indeed, it’s even been reported that Ipswich have even agreed to pay a portion of his wages directly to his debtors to prevent him from spluffing it elsewhere.