Championship - Chopra 'can't afford' to fight corruption case

Ipswich striker Michael Chopra has admitted that gambling debts mean he will not be able to contest corruption charges levelled against him - but that it might actually be a blessing in disguise.

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Michael Chopra

Chopra was one of nine people charged by the British Horseracing Authority with "serious breaches of the rules of racing" last October.

Jockey Andrew Heffernan and two other footballers - Nottingham Forest midfielder James Coppinger and former Manchester United starlet and England U21 player Mark Wilson - were also among those charged with offences relating to horses being laid to lose on betting exchanges in races that took place between 1st November 2010 and 31st March 2011.

Chopra has previously admitted to gambling addiction, claiming that he has lost between £1.5 and £2 million. He received treatment for his problem last year at the Sporting Chance clinic.

All of the men charged have protested their innocence, but Chopra will not put up a fight when the case begins next week as he has been told that legal fees of over £50,000 would not be refunded even if he was found innocent.

"I have extensive debts and loans and simply cannot afford the amount necessary to clear my name, with no prospects of recovering my costs," he said in an emotional statement.

"I understand that the only sanction the BHA could impose on me is to ban me from racecourses and gambling establishments licensed by it.

"It is well publicised that I have a gambling addiction problem and I see any such sanctions as being a useful mechanism in helping me to address these problems.

"As of this year, I've voluntarily self-excluded myself from all betting institutions where I live in Ipswich to help me fight this illness."

Chopra joined Ipswich from Cardiff in 2011 with the Portman Road club loaning him £250,000 to help him cover his debts.

Chopra has admitted to betting as much as £20,000 a day in the past.

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