Clifford Chance‘s cross-practice sports group advises international, regional, and national sporting bodies, as well as investors, clubs, banks, and other stakeholders on transactional and contentious matters. Involved in some of the largest transactions, the team advised the French Rugby Federation on the long-term strategic partnership between Six Nations Rugby and CVC. On the contentious side, it represented the Ligue de Football Professionnel in commercial litigation initiated by the Groupe Canal+ due to football game rescheduling. Yves Wehrli, member of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body since 2009, heads the practice.
Media and entertainment: Sports in France
Fédération Française de Football
Ligue de Football Professionnel
Fédération Française de Tennis
Fédération Française de Rugby
- Advised the FFR in the negotiation between the Six Nations Rugby, the official organising body of the Six Nations Championships and Autumn Internationals, and CVC Capital Partners on the structuring of a long-term strategic partnership.
- Represented the Ligue de Football Professionnel in the context of several proceedings initiated by Groupe Canal+ against the tender organised by the LFP in January 2021, following Mediapro’s bankruptcy, in order to reattribute the broadcasting rights for the French championships which had been awarded to Mediapro in 2018.
- Acting as counsel to the French Tennis Federation in the context of the invitation to tender relating to the sale of the broadcasting rights of the Roland Garros Grand Slam tournament in Europe.
Mostly handling contractual negotiations for major sporting events, De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés was entrusted with drafting and negotiating the public contract for the provision of legal services for the French National Olympic and Sports organisation in relation to the winter Olympics in China in 2022. The practice also acts in trade mark infringement matters, the area of expertise of Serge Lederman. Before joining the firm in May 2021, Jean-François Vilotte was the CEO of the French Tennis Federation for three years. Louis De Gaulle and Agnès Macaire lead the practice alongside Vilotte and Lederman.
Association Sporting Club Bastiais
Caisse des Dépôt et Consignations
Ile de France Mobilité
Amaury Sport Organisation (Tour de France, Dakar)
French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF)
French Tennis Federation (Roland-Garros, Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Rolex Masters)
UEFA (EURO 2016, Champions League, Europa League)
Particularly well-regarded for its strategic counsel, Joffe & Associés is often retained for its expertise in media rights negotiations. It also handles the bidding, hosting and commercial exploitation aspects of national and international sports competitions. Practice head Romain Soiron is known as an ‘expert in contract negotiation, capable of providing original solutions to complex situations’. Associate Alvyn Gobardhan supports Soiron in sports law and commercial matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Soiron has always shown great availability. His experience, his listening skills make him an expert in contract negotiation, capable of providing original solutions to complex situations.’
‘A responsive team that listens to its clients.’
‘Romain Soiron knows how to make himself available to ensure rigorous follow-up of files. It is very nice to work with someone who is passionate and dedicated!’
FEDERATION FRANCAISE DE FOOTBALL
LIGUE DE FOOTBALL PROFESSIONNEL
FEDERATION FRANCAISE D’ATHLETISME
FOOT IN ARENA
LIGUE NATIONALE DE HANDBALL
- Initiated legal proceedings against Rojadirecta, one of the biggest streaming websites, before the French courts on behalf of the French Professional Football League in order to protect the value of the French Professional Football League’s TV rights.
- Assisted Fight Nation with the negotiation of the media contract with the local organisers and with the OTT platform called Sportall for the live broadcasting of several boxing, karate, MMA and judo events.
- Advised an investment fund wanting to invest in the sports sector to help sports entities to recover from the pandemic.
August Debouzy has an established track record in advising major sports organisations, clubs, brands, and athletes on financing, commercial contracts and acquisitions. As chosen counsel for sponsorship and ticketing matters, the firm advised the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee. Drawing on the experience of its TMT and IP specialists, the practice also has significant experience in sports media, including the distribution of sports content on social media. Alexandra Berg-Moussa is particularly active in sponsorship and contractual matters. She heads the practice together with Basile Ader and Laurent Cotret.
URBAN SPORTS CLUB GmbH
JOGO BONITO GROUP (Girondins de Bordeaux – Football club)
OLYMPIQUE DE BIARRITZ
AGENCE FRANÇAISE DE LUTTE CONTRE LE DOPAGE (AFLD)
LOSC (LILLE OLYMPIQUE SPORTING CLUB)
AMER SPORTS CORPORATION
VAFC (VALENCIENNES FOOTBALL CLUB)
- Advised Jogo Bonito Group on the acquisition of the entire share capital of Club des Girondins de Bordeaux and the refinancing of its bond indebtedness.
- Assisted Nike with drafting and negotiating the commercial lease agreement in future state of completion related to its flagship store in Paris.
AyacheSalama impresses with its very established sports-related tax practice. Practice head Jacques Messeca has gathered an impressive client list of major sporting organisations as well as athletes, notably professional football players. Messeca’s caseload includes litigation and tax due diligence, for example for for regional football clubs.
STADE RENNAIS FC
TOULOUSE FOOTBALL CLUB
AS ST ETIENNE
GIRONDINS DE BORDEAUX
BERRICHONNE DE CHATEAUROUX
CLASSICO SPORT MANAGEMENT
CITIZEN FOOTBALL INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF FOOTBALL
UCPR (UNION OF FRENCH PROFESSIONNAL RUGBY CLUBS)
PARIS SAINT GERMAIN (PSG)
TOTAL DIRECT ENERGIE
QSI (QATAR SPORT INVESTMENT)
EUGENIE LE SOMMER
ASO (AMAURY SPORT ORGANISATION)
Having developed an expertise in rugby, Bignon Lebray represents some of the top premiership clubs, defending its players before disciplinary panels. Equally as involved in golfing matters, the firm is the go-to counsel for Golf de Maisons Laffitte. Neil Robertson, who is also a sports agent, leads the practice and acts for clubs, players, and agents, with matters including the drafting and negotiating of employment contracts as well as of services and sponsorship agreements.
Golf de Maisons-Laffitte
Racing 92 Rugby Club
- Defended professional rugby player Fabien Sanconnie in a disciplinary hearing before the Federation Française de Rugby.
- Represented professional rugby player Julien Marchand in a disciplinary hearing before the ECPR.
- Defended professional rugby player Kurtley Beale in a disciplinary hearing before the Federation Française de Rugby.
With expertise in a range of sports, Klein Wenner acts for professional clubs, athletes, leagues and organising committees for international sporting events. The cross-disciplinary practice is composed of public law experts Eve Derouesné and Marc de Monsembernard and IP and digital law specialists Mathieu Bourgeois and Laurent Badiane. François Klein brings three decades of experience in sports law to the table.
Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCPF)
Ligue Réunionnaise of Football (LRF)
Sportfive (EX Lagardère sport)
Fédération française de basket-ball
- Assisting an international football player with the promotion of his sport training service offer through the internet and social media in compliance with the GDPR.
- Conducted a GDPR training campaign for the members of the Union of Professional Football Clubs.
Paul Hastings LLP
Testament to the firm’s expertise in sports law, Paul Hastings LLP counts some of the largest French sports associations as clients. The firm is the go-to counsel for leading entities in the French sports sector for the sale of broadcasting rights. With over two decades of sports law practice under his belt, Jean-Louis Martin has a strong reputation in the field.
‘The team dedicated to our projects within Paul Hastings is headed by Jean-Louis Martin. We appreciate the extreme technical competence, major sector expertise, the availability, commitment, and ability to listen.’
Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR)
European Club Professional Club Rugby