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Who Represents Who

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A heavyweight in the Scottish sports market, Harper Macleod LLP handles the full remit of sports law for an impressive client roster of international federations, national governing bodies, tournament organisers, clubs, sporting professionals and sports representatives. While the team is best known for its football and rugby work, it also advises on other sports including golf, swimming and tennis. Senior partner Rod McKenzie advised the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) on rewriting its rules and on player contract issues. Tom Thomas continues to assist the same client with broadcasting contracts and overseas rights distribution agreements. The highly regarded Bruce Caldow recently defended Glasgow Warriors player Ryan Wilson against assault allegations, and is often instructed to contest the issuing of red cards. In other work, the team advised Commonwealth Games Scotland on its team member agreement to be signed by all Team Scotland members, as well as on athlete eligibility, data protection compliance and governance matters. Other clients include Scottish Gymnastics and Glasgow Life.

Addleshaw Goddard merged with HBJ Gateley on 1 June 2017, giving the former firm a footprint in Scotland and a sports team with a strong profile acting for individuals and clubs in contentious football matters. Non-contentious work – including regulatory compliance, domestic and overseas transfers and contract terminations – has become a greater focal point for the practice, which is headed by litigator Simon Catto and includes Helena Brown.

The ‘strong’ team at BTO Solicitors LLP specialises in football, golf and boxing and ‘provides very good advice’ on corporate governance issues, while also handling contentious matters. Team head Andrew Sleigh, who is praised as being ‘very strong at providing commercial advice’, advised Royal Troon Golf Club on amendments to its constitution to admit women into membership, and assisted the Scottish Football Association with a number of issues pertaining to hosting UEFA Euro 2020 matches at Hampden Park. Gary Booth continues to assist the same client with corporate governance matters, including its annual revision process.

Burness Paull LLP’s ‘strong’ practice acts for clients on a range of judicial reviews, sponsorship agreements, employment and project development matters.Senior associate Neeraj Thomas, who ‘provides excellent commercial advice’, acted for the Scottish Football Association in opposing a judicial review raised by the entrepreneur Michael Ashley after he was found to be in breach of Scottish FA’s disciplinary rules, and assisted Scottish Cycling on a number of issues pertaining to its selection process and criteria for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The team also advised Basketball Scotland on disciplinary proceedings following allegations of misconduct against a coach, and assisted Hampden Park with procurement, construction contract and funding issues pertaining to the development of the football stadium to accommodate the UEFA Euro 2020 football tournament in line with UEFA tournament requirements. Standard Life Investments instructed the team to handle the renewal of its sponsorship and global partnership with the Ryder Cup in 2018.

Governing bodies, clubs and individuals regularly instruct Anderson Strathern’s team to advise on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, including employment, governance and contractual work. The team advised Rangers FC on matters arising from the exit of Joey Barton following concerns about his behaviour, and assisted the club with actions against four former directors. Other work for the client included assistance with player contracts, Scottish FA compliance and corporate governance issues. Key contact John Kerr advised Cricket Scotland on governance and employment issues, and assisted Tennis Scotland with the termination of the chief executive’s contract and issues pertaining to the appointment of a successor. In other work, he assisted Orkney RFC with restructuring the club from an unincorporated body into a company limited by guarantee, and with obtaining necessary consent from Scottish Rugby. Other clients include Gullane Golf Club, Badminton Scotland and the Borders Sport and Leisure Trust.

Morton Fraser’s ‘knowledgeable’ team ‘provides a good efficient service’ and is noted for its ‘practical approach’. It regularly acts for governing bodies, clubs, organisations and individuals on corporate structures, employment and governance matters. Iain Young heads the team.

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