LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Jockey Andrew Heffernan was disqualified from riding for 15 years and three footballers were excluded from being involved in horse racing on Friday following a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) corruption inquiry.
Heffernan was found guilty of conspiring with others to commit a corrupt and fraudulent practice, receiving a bribe and intentionally failing to ensure a horse ran on its merits.
The allegations centred on three horses ridden by Heffernan being laid to lose on betting exchanges in races that took place between Nov. 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011.
Ipswich Town striker Michael Chopra and former Manchester United and Doncaster Rovers midfielder Mark Wilson were banned for 10 years for breaching racing's rules.
The pair were found to have offered a bribe and committed corrupt and fraudulent practices.
Doncaster midfielder James Coppinger was also found guilty of corrupt and fraudulent practices and disqualified for three years.
"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," the BHA said on its website (www.britishhorseracing.com).
"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."
Five others individuals also received bans.
Chopra, who has admitted having a gambling addiction, did not defend himself at the inquiry after stating he could not afford to pay the legal fees. (Writing by Sonia Oxley, editing by Justin Palmer)