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Brian Rice: Hamilton head coach left ‘helpless and powerless’ by gambling addiction after 10-game ban


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Brian Rice: Hamilton head coach left ‘helpless and powerless’ by gambling addiction after 10-game ban

Media playback is not supported on this device ‘I’m relieved it’s over’ – Rice accepts 10-game ban for betting breachesBrian Rice says he was left “powerless and helpless” by gambling addiction after being banned for 10 matches for betting offences by the Scottish FA.Only five matches will be served immediately, with the rest suspended for…

Brian Rice: Hamilton head coach left ‘helpless and powerless’ by gambling addiction after 10-game ban

Media playback is not supported on this device

‘I’m relieved it’s over’ – Rice accepts 10-game ban for betting breaches

Brian Rice says he was left “powerless and helpless” by gambling addiction after being banned for 10 matches for betting offences by the Scottish FA.

Only five matches will be served immediately, with the rest suspended for good behaviour until summer 2021.

The 56-year-old was charged with breaching rules in each season from July 2015 to October 2019 and learned his fate at Hampden on Thursday.

“In my opinion, it’s too easy for a bet,” Rice said afterwards.

“I think there’s a gambling culture in Scotland, a gambling culture in football, and it’s something we need to do something about.

“It was online, going into bookies, everything. That’s what addicts do, you’re powerless, helpless.”

Rice, who reported himself to the SFA for the breaches, has agreed to measures to ensure he does not offend again including attending recovery meetings, and Hamilton must certify at the end of each month their head coach has not bet since 17 October 2019.

Since Rice confessed to being a gambling addict, the spotlight on bookmakers investing in Scottish football has heightened with the leagues and both major cup competitions currently sponsored by betting companies.

But the former Hibernian, Nottingham Forest and Falkirk midfielder believes Scottish football needs the investment, and players and coaches must take individual responsibility.

“Scottish football needs the support of the betting industry, the money they put into it,” Rice said. “The betting industry didn’t make me do what I did, Brian Rice made me do what I did.

“We need the support of the bookmakers, every club will tell you that. And we’re no different. It was my individual choice.”

Rice will serve the first game of his suspension on Sunday when Hamilton host Premiership leaders Celtic.

He says he is not worried that his absence will affect the team, who are currently second bottom of the league, and now wants to focus on his recovery before returning to the dugout.

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“I’m relieved it’s over. I deserve my punishment, I’ll serve my punishment and then it’s back to football matters. It’s a big weight lifted off my shoulders, I’ve let a lot of people down.

“I’m being honest with myself and everybody, I move forward now. I feel it’s a new start for me as a person,” Rice added.

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