Brian Rice: 10-game ban for Hamilton boss' gambling breaches

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'I'm relieved it's over' - Rice accepts 10-game ban for betting breaches

Hamilton Academical head coach Brian Rice has been banned from the dugout for 10 matches after admitting breaching Scottish FA gambling rules.

But only five of them will be served immediately, with the rest suspended for good behaviour until summer 2021.

The 56-year-old was accused of breaking the rules in each season from 14 July 2015 to 15 October 2019 and learned his fate at a SFA hearing at Hampden.

Rice has agreed to a series of measures to prove he has not offended again.

To avoid a further five-game ban, he must continue to attend regularly at recovery meetings, must not breach the rules again and, on the last day of each month, Hamilton must submit a certificate to say that, as far as the club is aware, he has not gambled since 17 October 2019.

In an initial explanation, the chair of the judicial panel said: "The period of suspension selected reflects the gravity of the breach of the rule involving the large number of low value bets."

The Scot could have faced a suspension of at least three matches and a maximum of 16 plus a £100,000 fine.

"The tribunal chose to suspend one half of the sanction to reflect the genuine efforts it considered Mr Rice has made to 'put his life and that of his family back together again' and to take account of his genuine expression of remorse for his breach of the rule and the effect that has had on his family, the club and the Scottish FA," the tribunal chair added.

"It is the hope of the tribunal that the suspended element will not be imposed but will play some part in helping Mr Rice to avoid returning to the practice, which has so blighted his life."

Hamilton said that the former Hibernian, Nottingham Forest and Falkirk midfielder, who has previously admitted to gambling addiction, had "self-reported" the offences to the governing body.

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.

On arriving at Hampden, Rice had told BBC Scotland "I have done wrong" and that he would accept whatever punishment was handed out.

Assistant manager Guillaume Beuzelin will take charge of the team on Sunday at home to Celtic, with academy director George Cairns taking care of media duties.

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