Ipswich: Date set for Chopra ‘race-fixing’ hearing

A HEARING into race-fixing allegations against Town striker Michael Chopra, two other footballers, and a jockey is set to begin on January 14.

A spokesman for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said 11 days have been set aside for the proceedings.

Chopra will be invited to give evidence before the three members of its disciplinary panel, although it is not known how many days he will be required to attend.

The 28-year-old is one of nine people accused of serious breaches of racing rules.

The hearing will be held at the BHA headquarters in High Holborn, London.

It will be presided over by its disciplinary panel comprising of Tim Charlton, Hopper Cavendish, and Didi Powles.

A spokesman for Ipswich Town said the club could not comment on how long Chopra would be away from the club until it knew what his obligations to the hearing were.

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Chopra will be paying his own legal fees.

He was charged earlier this month under his full name Rocky Michael Chopra. The former Cardiff, Newcastle and Sunderland striker is alleged to have conspired with Nottingham Forest midfielder James Coppinger, 31, former Manchester United and England under-21 international Mark Wilson, 33, currently unattached, and jockey Andrew Heffernan, 24, to fix races.

Chopra, Wilson and Coppinger are all charged with conspiring to “commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice” under the rules of racing.

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

Chopra, Coppinger and Wilson are alleged to have been involved in race fixing that also included five other individuals not licensed under the rules of racing.

The charges follow an investigation into suspicious betting activity on a number of races by the BHA.

The allegations focus on horses being laid to lose on betting exchanges in races that took place between November 1, 2010 and March, 31 2011.

When news of the charges broke Ipswich Town said Chopra – whose gambling problems have been well-documented in the past – would be supported by the club.