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Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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A ‘strong presence in the area’, Capital Law LLP’s sports team handles the gamut of legal issues, from interpretation of the laws of the game, to advising on governance structures, broadcasting agreements, player disciplinary tribunals, sponsorship agreements, employment matters, corporate transactions and real estate developments. Team head Wayne Beynon has ‘good tactical sense and excellent attention to detail’; he regularly handles litigation for Cardiff City Football Club, and acted for the club in a Welsh Football Association appointed arbitration against one of the club’s directors regarding his compliance with fiduciary duties. Associate Jennifer Cottle joined in 2016 from Dolmans and brings expertise acting for sports governing bodies; she is legal adviser to the board of the Federation of Disability Sport Wales. Other clients include Cardiff Blues, Golf Union of Wales, and R&L Golf.

Headed by the ‘truly outstanding and energetic’ Gareth Williams, Hugh James’s sports team continues to handle a significant volume of work for longstanding client the Welsh Rugby Union. It has handled many of the client’s most significant projects (including the construction of the Millennium Stadium and the landmark participation agreement with the Welsh regions), and also advises it on corporate governance matters. ‘Knowledgeable and practical’ corporate and commercial head Gerallt Jones also handles work for the Welsh Rugby Union, including advising it on banking facilities and loans to the regions and clubs. The team also regularly acts for British Boxing Board of Control on high-profile disciplinary and regulatory matters.

JCP Solicitors is best known for its longstanding relationship with Swansea City FC and continues to represent the club across a range of matters, including acting for it in a dispute with the club’s former player Wilfried Bony and his agent. The firm also continues to represent the company responsible for managing and operating the Liberty Stadium in Swansea in connection with alleged defects arising out of the building of the stadium and certain remedial works. The team also continues to handle work for Italian sportswear manufacturer Macron. Team head Christian Edwards is recommended.

Dolmans acts for Welsh sporting bodies across a range of commercial, contractual and governance issues. The team continues to represent The Commonwealth Games Council for Wales on the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia, and is advising numerous high-profile Paralympians (including David Weir and Aled Davies ) on a range of issues including contract and sponsorship negotiations. Adrian Oliver heads the team, which includes personal injury partner Clare Hoskins, who represents sporting bodies and individuals on sports-related personal injury claims.

Drawing on the expertise of practitioners from within numerous practice groups, including litigation, corporate and employment, Geldards LLP provides a multi-disciplinary service to an impressive range of governing bodies and sports clubs including Swim Wales, Cardiff Blues and British Boxing Board of Control. Giselle Davies regularly handles work at the interface between sports and charities law; as well as advising Cardiff City FC Foundation on a review and amendment of its existing articles of association, it continues to handle a range of work for the Welsh Sports Association, including advising it on the legal structure necessary for the creation of a shared services company on behalf of national governing bodies of sport in Wales. The firm also handles sports management work through Engagesport, the wholly owned subsidiary established in 2012, recently drafting and advising on sponsorship agreements with sponsors for the Cardiff Half Marathon 2017 and acting for leading Welsh rugby player Gethin Jenkins on the necessary commercial arrangements for his testimonial year. Team head Paul Hopkins is also recommended.

Hutchinson Thomas is ‘the pre-eminent firm in south Wales for rugby union work’. With three practitioners – Roger Morris, Simon Thomas and Rhian Williams – all appointed by World Rugby as independent judicial officers, ‘you will have to travel a long way to find more experience and knowledge under one roof’. Robert Williams has a particular focus on amateur sport and is recognised as a local expert at obtaining Community Amateur Sports Club status and thereby ensuring significant financial advantage for those clubs. Morris and Williams are advising on the incorporation of several rugby and cricket clubs as companies limited by guarantee. Clients include Neath Athletic RFC, Briton Ferry RFC and South Wales Cricket Association.

Now headed by the ‘exceptional’ Mark Loosemore following his arrival in April 2016, Loosemores Solicitors’ ‘exceptionally strong’ sports practice handles a range of commercial, IP, disciplinary and corporate governance matters. The firm’s longstanding clients include The Football Association of Wales (FAW); former team head Michael Culley advised the organisation on its staging agreement with UEFA for the Champions League men’s and women’s finals to be played in Cardiff in June 2017. Other key figures include Karl Thomas, who has a strong reputation on sports regulatory and mediation work, and consultant Sara Griffiths, who joined from Capital Law LLP in January 2017. New clients include The Welsh Rugby Players Association and Ffos Las Racecourse.

Led by David Thompson, Thompson Darwin Limited is best known for its ongoing work for The Scarlets rugby team. Previously a chief executive of a Super League rugby team, Thompson has first-hand expertise within the rugby arena, and in his role for The Scarlets, handles everything from sponsorship agreements and complex commercial contracts, to issues relating to players leaving and joining the club. Other clients include Pro Rugby Wales, Cardiff Devils and Llanelli RFC.

Headed by employment partner Damian Phillips, Darwin Gray LLP’s sports team advises rugby players and coaches on the terms of their contracts, as well as in negotiating favourable exit packages from clubs. Phillips also advises rugby players and coaches when relationships have broken down; he represented a number of high-profile players and coaches leaving Premiership rugby clubs during 2016. As well as his work for individuals, Phillips also advises Pontypool RFC across a range of issues, including updating playing and coaching contracts. Senior associate Owen John is developing a burgeoning reputation for football-related matters and is also registered with the Football Association of Wales to act as an agent for football players in the UK and abroad.

Harding Evans LLP provides a range of private and commercial law services to a raft of sports organisations and individuals. Employment head Daniel Wilde regularly advises international rugby players including Tavis Knoyle, Nicky Thomas and Shane Geraghty on contracts and settlement agreements. Mike Jenkins handles corporate and real estate matters for sporting entities, including advising Newport Gwent Dragons on potential corporate restructuring issues. Jenkins also advised Cardiff Golf Club on development work. Other clients include Sam Warburton, James Hook, Newport County AFC and Cardiff Athletic Club.

Morgan LaRoche advises a range of national, regional and local sports organisations at both a professional and amateur level on a range of commercial work, including advising on sponsorship agreements, constitutional and governance advice, and issues relating to player contracts. Employment head Timothy Jones continues to handle work for West Wales Football Association including on disciplinary matters and issues relating to the Association’s rules. The firm also advises local golf clubs and cricket clubs on employment law issues and constitutional matters. Team head William Barletta is also recommended.

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