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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Switzerland > Sports law > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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Baker McKenzie advises sports organisations, professional athletes, marketing and media companies as well as financial services providers on sports-related contractual, IP, tax and contentious matters. Corporate and real estate partner Olivier Ducrey assisted the International Basketball Federation with several contractual issues concerning the Basketball Champions League and the group also advised Union Cycliste Internationale on television media rights for its cycling tours.

Bär & Karrer Ltd. focuses primarily on sports arbitration and litigation proceedings; notably, the team supported UEFA in several disciplinary and commercial arbitration matters before the Court of Arbitration for Sports and the ICC. ‘Rare talentMichele Bernasconi is ‘one of the best CAS arbitrators’ and a ‘real problem solver with excellent settlement and mediation skills’; he recently served as sole arbitrator in the dispute between Real Madrid Club de Fútbol and FIFA, which resulted in a new-player registration ban for one season and a fine to be paid to FIFA by Real Madrid. The Olympic Council of Asia also receives legal services from the practice.

Kellerhals Carrard handles football and doping-related arbitration disputes and further advises sports organisations on commercial and marketing topics, such as hosting, sponsorship, governance and regulatory issues. The practice represented the IAAF in several CAS arbitrations against Russian athletes, coaches and doctors concerning the Pound Report doping case and also acted for SC Internacional in arbitration proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne concerning a relegation decision from the Superior Court of Brazilian Sports Justice related to the Brazilian championship competition. The recommended Ross Wenzel jointly heads the practice with François Carrard, Jean-Philippe Rochat and Jean-Pierre Morand.

Lenz & Staehelin particularly often exhibits its ‘deep knowledge’ of sports matters in arbitration proceedings when acting for Swiss sports entities; other areas of expertise include the assistance with sports events, media aspects, IP, competition, immigration and tax law. The team represented Constantin Medien in a dispute against the board of directors of subsidiary Highlight Communications and defended Swisscom, CT Cinetrade and Teleclub against abuse of dominance allegations related to sports rights. The ‘focused and well-connected top sports lawyerXavier Favre-Bulle is recommended and corporate and M&A expert Stephan Erni is the key contact in Zurich.

Niederer Kraft Freyhas a top sports litigation team that knows how to handle difficult, complex cases of international dimensions and provides advice in an efficient manner’, including on arbitration and white-collar crime matters. Recent highlights include advising Berlinger & Co. on regulatory and contractual aspects of its cooperation with the International Olympic Committee concerning doping investigations of Russian athletets. FIFA and the International Ice Hockey Federation are other key clients. András Gurovits is ‘competent, reactive and accurate’ and Daniel Eisele and Tamir Livschitz are both ‘experienced litigators’.

CMS is best known for advising on contentious matters in the football and hockey sectors. Recent highlights include representing new client Genève Servette Hockey Club in a disciplinary proceeding initiated by the National League against two of its players. Olivier Carrard has extensive experience as an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sports; Pierre Ducret and Christian Lüscher are other names to note.

Arbitration boutique Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler is frequently active in litigious matters in the sports industry: the team handled several matters for FIFA in 2016, such as defending the client against Joseph Blatter’s appeal regarding his six-year ban from all football-related activities. The group also represented Union Cycliste Internationale in a CAS arbitration related to several anti-doping procedures. Antonio Rigozzi is the main contact.

Premier law firmSchellenberg Wittmer Ltd is ‘sound and pragmatic in its approach’ and focuses entirely on sports dispute resolution; a particular focus is the representation of athletes in relation to doping allegations and of individuals holding high-ranking positions in sports organisations. In a recent highlight, the group successfully represented the Vice President of the Qatar Football Association in his appeal against his suspension by the FIFA Ethics Committee. The ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ Philippe Bärtsch is recommended. Christopher Boog is the key partner in Zurich.

Froriep’s ‘very competent’ team primarily handles sports arbitration matters and recently represented the Russian Paralympic Committee in CAS and Supreme Court cases regarding the suspension of its athletes and the committee itself. Other highlights included defending 34 players of the Australian Essendon Football Club in a Supreme Court appeal proceeding against a doping ban. Lucien Valloni is ‘diligent, experienced and always well prepared’ and Jean Marguerat is the key partner in the Geneva office.

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  • Bär & Karrer awarded by Mergermarket as "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018"

    At this year's Mergermarket European Awards Ceremony on 6 December 2018 in London, Bär & Karrer has been awarded as the "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018".
  • Bär & Karrer Advises the Sellers of Astes4 SA

    The owners of Astes4 SA, a company based in Balerna, Switzerland, which is engaged in development, production and sales of patented automated sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines, sold their interests in the company to Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Mitsubishi Electric is active in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. By acquiring Astes4, Mitsubishi Electric will further strengthen its lineup of automation systems together with sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines to provide its valued customers with integrated solutions that require less manual loading, unloading and sorting to realize higher productivity and efficiency.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Constellium on the Sale of Rolling Business Assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to

    On 23 July 2018, Constellium Valais SA, a company of the Constellium group engaged in the aluminium plate and extrusions businesses for industry, aerospace and transportation applications, successfully completed the sale of its aluminium rolling business assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to Novelis Switzerland SA for EUR 200 million. The assets, consisting of real estate, machinery and equipment, were previously leased by Constellium Valais to Novelis Switzerland and both parties will continue to operate in Sierre following the transaction. Concurrently with the asset sale, Constellium Valais contributed the Sierre site's shared infrastructure to a newly established 50-50 joint venture with Novelis Switzerland.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Bank Cler in Connection with the Public Tender Offer by Cantonal Bank of Basel

    On 20 June 2018, the Cantonal Bank of Basel, which already holds 77.52% of the share capital and the voting rights of Bank Cler Ltd., published the preannouncement for a public tender offer for all publicly held bearer shares of Bank Cler, which is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Subsequently, Bank Cler concluded a transaction agreement with the Cantonal Bank of Basel regarding the public tender offer. The Cantonal Bank of Basel offers CHF 52 per share of Bank Cler. Taking into consideration the results of the Fairness Opinion of an independent Expert, the board of directors of Bank Cler recommends to its shareholders to accept the offer.
  • Bär & Karrer Successful in Appeal Proceedings before the Federal Administrative Court Against the F

    On 11 May 2016, the French tax authorities requested administrative assistance from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration. The request was made based on lists containing several thousand UBS Switzerland AG account numbers which are or were held by persons presumed to be French residents for tax purposes. The French tax authorities were asking for Switzerland to provide names and dates of birth of the persons connected to the accounts as well as the account balances. UBS Switzerland AG (which the Federal Administrative Court ("FAC") had granted party status in its judgment A-4974/2016 of 25 October 2016) and private individuals directly affected lodged appeals with the FAC against the Federal Tax Administration’s final decisions, which were issued on 9 February 2018.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises BZ Bank on Purchase of United Grinding Group

    BZ Bank Aktiengesellschaft, through its acquisition company LEMRO AG, purchased the United Grinding Group from Körber Beteiligungen GmbH. The United Grinding Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of precision grinding machines.
  • Bär & Karrer advised PSP Swiss Property on Sale of a Commercial Property

    PSP Swiss Property sold a commercial property in Petit-Lancy, Geneva. The property at the Av. des Morgines 8/10 (approx. 14'000 m2 of rentable space) was sold for CHF 55 million to an affiliate company of Epic Suisse AG.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs in a Combined Offering on the Placement of Sha

    Idorsia Ltd successfully placed 11,912,000 new shares by way of an accelerated bookbuilding in a private placement with institutional investors. The placed shares are sourced from the company's existing authorized share capital and the pre-emptive rights of the existing shareholders have been excluded. The offer price was set at CHF 25.62 per share. Additionally, Idorsia successfully placed CHF 200 million of senior unsecured convertible bonds due 2024 in a private placement with institutional investors.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Vontobel on the Placement of CHF 450 Million Tier 1 Bonds to fund the acquisit

    Vontobel Holding AG successfully completed the placement of CHF 450 million perpetual additional tier 1 subordinated bonds. The additional tier 1 subordinated bonds were issued at 100% of their nominal amount with an interest of 2.625% until 2023. The proceeds of this capital market transaction will be mainly used to finance the acquisition of Notenstein La Roche Private Bank.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised Swiss Re in the Offering of USD 500 Million Senior Exchangeable Notes with Iss

    Swiss Re Ltd (Swiss Re) has completed an offering of USD 500 million, 6-year senior exchangeable notes, which may be stock settled at the option of Swiss Re or may be exchanged at the option of noteholders for registered shares of Swiss Re, unless Swiss Re elects to settle the exchange of notes in cash. Swiss Re has purchased call options on its own shares, which allow it to settle an exchange by noteholders without issuing new shares.