Hamilton boss gets MSP’s backing ahead of gambling hearing

Brian Rice reported himself to the Scottish FA over a 'horrible' gambling addiction.

Hamilton boss gets MSP’s backing ahead of gambling hearing SNSGroup

MSP Monica Lennon has written to the Scottish FA in support of Hamilton head coach Brian Rice, who faces a disciplinary hearing for breaching betting regulations.

Rice reported himself to the SFA earlier this month after admitting he had suffered a relapse in his battle against a “horrible” gambling addiction.

His case will be heard by a disciplinary panel on Thursday.

In her letter to SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell, Lennon described gambling addiction as a “major public health issue in our society that the football community is not immune from”.

She wrote: “The stigma associated with problem gambling is a barrier to people and their families getting help.

“It must have been incredibly difficult for Brian Rice, head coach at Hamilton Accies, to come forward and disclose his gambling addiction.”

She added: “This is the positive difference that clubs can make in our community and I am keen to discuss with you the wider contribution the Scottish Football Association can make to this public health and well-being agenda.

“I know that the club is taking Brian Rice’s welfare very seriously and I have been heartened by the overwhelmingly compassionate response from fans.”

The sanctions available range from a three-match to a 16-match ban to expulsion from the game in the most serious of cases, and a fine of up to £100,000.