'The reality is I am an addict, and I have struggled with gambling' - Scottish Premiership boss charged over alleged betting offences

Hamilton Academical boss Brian Rice has been hit with an SFA charge over alleged breaches of gambling rules.

Brian Rice has opened up on his gambling addiction after receiving an SFA Notice of Complaint

Accies confirmed on Monday that the Compliance Officer had issued Rice with a Notice of Complaint alleging a breach of Disciplinary Rule 31 between July 2015 and October 2019.

Rice served as assistant to John Hughes at Inverness Caledonian Thistle between July 2015 and June 2018, when he took up a similar role as Alan Stubb's No.2 at St Mirren. In January 2019 he was appointed head coach at Hamilton.

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In a statement published on the club's website, the 56-year-old said: "Firstly, I would like to express my regret to the players, coaching staff and my friends and colleagues at Hamilton Academical for the lapse that has prompted me to voluntarily acknowledge breaches of the Scottish Football Association’s gambling rules.”

“This decision was one of the hardest I have had to take but in a way also the easiest. 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.”

“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. I have apologised to those at the club in whom I have sought counsel and I apologise today to the players, fans and colleagues I have let down through my gambling addiction."

Accepting that he will face punishment, Rice said he wanted 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".

Rice thanked the club for its "unwavering support" adding: “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. You are an addict for life and through my commitment to the 12-step recovery programme, I am confident I can stay on top of this disease one day at a time."

Accies chief executive Colin McGowan added: "We are proud that Brian has today spoken publicly of his struggles with gambling addition. As a recovering addict myself – and somebody who has dedicated the last 20 years to counselling individuals across the country, from all walks of life – I believe Brian’s actions are a show of colossal strength and inspiration.

“Having spoken extensively to Brian since his addiction resurfaced, I know that his followed a well-worn path from smaller, less frequent bets to the snowball effect of a daily addiction."

McGowan said Rice was "committed to recovery and has the full support of all at Hamilton", adding: "As a Head Coach in the Scottish Premiership, news of his breach of gambling rules will come with profile, media attention and scrutiny. But this is a far more serious issue than a breach of a football rule, a breach that both Brian and the club accepts.

“Honesty is a key step in the recovery programme and is non-negotiable. It is why today is such a significant step. I would like to thank the Scottish FA for the empathy shown throughout this process, whilst respectful of the need to safeguard the integrity of the game and the rules upon which football is founded.

“Brian’s courage today can be a seminal moment for Scottish football.”