Former Scunthorpe schoolboy and Manchester United footballer Mark Wilson charged with race fixing
A former Scunthorpe schoolboy who went on to play for Manchester United has been charged with race fixing by the British Horseracing Authority.
Mark Wilson, 33, is accused of conspiring with seven others and jockey Andrew Heffernan to fix races.
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.
The charges relate to jockey Heffernan’s riding of three horses – Wanchai Whisper, Gallantry and Silver Guest.
Wilson is accused of conspiring with other people to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice as well as offering a bribe to Heffernan between the same period.
If found guilty, Wilson could face a ban from all involvement with racing for several years.
Wilson’s case is not likely to be heard until early next year.
Paul Scotney, director of integrity services, compliance and licensing for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said: “The charges BHA has issued today are the result of a long and complicated investigation. This process has taken significant time and resources. However, investigations such as these are very similar to fraud investigations and as such are complex and time consuming. Furthermore, we encountered difficulties in obtaining telephone records from certain individuals who refused to co-operate. This resulted in us having to make a number of applications to the High Court for orders against their mobile telephone service providers for disclosure of the relevant records.
“We hope that today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to deterring and detecting wrong-doing and taking action against those who we believe to have breached the rules.”
Wilson made his debut for Manchester United on October 28, 1998 in a league cup game against Bury. In 2001, he joined Middlesbrough in a deal worth around £1.5 million. Wilson’s longest spell at a club was at Doncaster Rovers, where he played between 2006 and 2010.
Wilson was released from former club Oxford this year.
Two other footballers have also been charged: Ipswich striker Michael Chopra and James Coppinger, who is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest.
The other people charged are Paul Garner, Kelly Inglis, Yogesh Joshee, Douglas Shelley and Pravin Shingadia.