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Brian Rice believes football is becoming ‘farcical’ following rules changes

Hamilton manager Brian Rice believes football is becoming “farcical” as the game adapts to recent changes to the laws.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) introduced a number of changes to the rules in the summer, affecting areas of the game including handball and drop balls.

And Rice, speaking after his side’s 3-1 derby defeat to Motherwell, feels that Scottish match officials still do not have a proper handle on the new arrangements.

Motherwell dominated for most of the 90 minutes to claim their first league win of the season thanks to goals from Peter Hartley, Liam Donnelly and Chris Long.

Hamilton, who scored a first-half penalty through Ross Cunningham, had Jamie Hamilton sent off after just 20 minutes, allowing Motherwell to coast to the win.

Rice said: “I don’t understand the rules and I think the refs are confused by the rules. I was speaking to the linesman and fourth official during the game.

“I was asking the rules and they were saying the same to me, ‘it could be this or it could be that’.

“To me, we are mucking up football and taking the game away from the people.

“It’s becoming farcical at times. What was wrong with football when we went home afterwards and the ref had made the decisions? Now nobody knows the rules.

“I saw a penalty given at Motherwell last week then saw the same incident on the edge of the box in this game and nothing happened.

“There are grey areas. We’re all in the same boat. There’s no clarity. We don’t know what will and won’t be a free-kick.”

Rice doubted whether Video Assistant Referees (VAR) would ever be introduced into the SPFL.

He added: “We’ll never get VAR. I’m old fashioned. I like talking about honest mistakes, individual errors, and human nature. We all make mistakes. We’re not going to lambast referees for that. It’s a difficult enough job.

“I’ve heard it for weeks (about the law changes) and I’ve been to the referees’ meetings. I’ve had referees here explaining things. To me it doesn’t make sense but I don’t make the rules up.”

Rice’s opposite number Stephen Robinson was similarly bemused. He said: “I feel sorry for the refs with drop balls and handballs.

“How many penalties will there be this season? The one against Hearts (in Motherwell’s previous match) was a penalty but it’s making it hard for the refs.

“I’m baffled by the drop ball but I feel for them. I don’t know why we have to continue to mess with things.”