Hamilton Accies: Brian Rice admits gambling breaches as head coach says he 'self-reported'

Hamilton Accies head coach Brian Rice
Brian Rice faces a suspension of up to 16 matches and a £100,000 fine

Hamilton Accies boss Brian Rice has been charged with breaching Scottish FA gambling rules and says he wrote to the governing body to "self-report".

The 56-year-old has been accused of breaching the rules in each season from 14 July 2015 to 15 October 2019.

Rice, who has previously admitted to gambling addiction, faces a hearing on 30 January.

"I would like to express my regret to the players, coaching staff and my friends and colleagues," he said.

Rice, who became Accies head coach in January 2019, described it as a "lapse" in a statement on his club's website in which Hamilton say they have co-operated fully with the association throughout the investigation period.

He was accused of breaching disciplinary rule 31, which states that "no club, official, team official or other member of team staff, player, match official or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall gamble in any way on a football match".

The former Hibernian, Nottingham Forest and Falkirk midfielder could face a suspension of at least three matches and a maximum of 16 plus a £100,000 fine.

"This decision was one of the hardest I have had to take, but in a way also the easiest," he said. "I have made no secret of the fact that I have struggled with the disease that is gambling addiction in the past.

"The reality is I am an addict and, while I have been proud of the fact I have been in recovery from this disease, a key part of the recovery programme is honesty: honesty to myself and honesty to those who have and who continue to support me, including my family and my football family at Hamilton."

It is understood that Rice "reached out" to the SFA about the offences, which have led to one charge for each of the previous five seasons.

"I wrote a letter to the Scottish FA self-reporting my gambling and did so as an admission that my disease has returned in order that I commit to recovery," he said.

"I accept that a breach of the rules will come with punishment and I accept that. The reason I am speaking out is to remove the stigma attached to this horrible, isolating disease in the hope that those involved in Scottish football who are similarly in its grasp feel they can seek help and draw strength from my admission.

"After committing to recovery I cannot believe that I have found myself back in the grip of gambling addiction, but this disease is not cured with a finite course of treatment."

Rice's statement and Hamilton's support for their head coach have been described as "brave" by Conservative MSP Ruth Davidson, who said on Twitter: "Gambling is a disease and hypocrisy in football is rife - shirt sponsors, FA goals rights sold to betting websites - without acknowledgement of human cost."

Ruth Davidson on Twitter

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