Brian Rice Handed 10-Game Suspension for Gambling Offenses

  • First five games to be served immediately, rest suspended for good behaviour until summer 2021
  • Club must certify at the end of each month that he has not placed a bet since October 17, 2019
  • Showed remorse for his actions and was willing to accept whatever punishment came his way
coach standing at side of pitch
Accies head coach Brian Rice has been suspended for 10 games after self-reporting himself to the Scottish FA over gambling offenses. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Suspension starts on Sunday

Hamilton Academical F.C. head coach Brian Rice has been hit with a 10-game suspension by the Scottish Football Association (FA) for breaching gambling rules.

Five of these games will be served straight away, beginning on Sunday when the Accies host Celtic at New Douglas Park. The five remaining games will be suspended pending good behavior until the summer of 2021. 

beginning on Sunday when the Accies host Celtic at New Douglas Park

Rice’s suspension was announced during a Scottish FA hearing that took place at Hampden. He was found guilty of breaching betting rules from July 2015 until October 2019. He will be closely monitored to ensure that he does resume betting on games. 

Rice has shown remorse

Good behavior requires the 56-year-old to regularly attend gambling recovery meetings. He also must not breach the FA’s betting rules again.

Rice will also have to get a certificate signed by Hamilton each month to state that, as far the club is aware, he has not bet since October 17, 2019.

Speaking to BBC Sport before his hearing, Rice said he had done wrong and that was willing to accept whatever punishment was given to him. 

Could have been a lot worse

The chair of the judicial panel spoke about the terms associated with Rice’s suspension. He said: “The period of suspension selected reflects the gravity of the breach of the rule involving the large number of low value bets.”

The maximum suspension Rice faced was a fine of £100,000 ($76,360) and a 16-game suspension. The minimum sanction would have been a three-game ban.

Rice has been making an effort to get his life back together since admitting placing bets in each season since 2015. The panel believes that Rice has shown genuine remorse for his actions and also acknowledged the impact it had on his family, his club, and on the Scottish FA. 

The panel hopes that the terms of this sentence will help Rice to rehabilitate and avoid returning to gambling. 

Fallout from Rice’s admission

Rice had previously admitted to having a gambling problem before making his admission. In relation to the offenses he committed within the game of soccer, Rice self-reported his breach of the Scottish FA’s gambling rules to his club. 

He has been the head coach of the Accies since January 2019. The soccer club has fully cooperated with all authorities involved during the course of the investigation.

Assistant Guillaume Beuzelin will handle first team duties while Rice serves his suspension. Youth Academy Director George Cairns will be responsible for media duties.