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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 the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Sport > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Sport
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Bird & Bird LLP 's 'exceptional', multi-jurisdictional sports team represents international governing bodies in contentious matters, investigations and media rights deals, in addition to acting for football clubs, corporates and major event hosts in a range of commercial areas, including sponsorship and partnership agreements. Leading adviser Jonathan Taylor QC successfully represented the IAAF in Caster Semenya's appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, leading to a landmark judgment on the eligibility regulations governing the testosterone limit for female athletes. On the commercial side, Felicity Reeve advised petrochemical company Orlen on its sponsorship agreement with the Williams Martini Racing F1 team and Craig Giles advised Six Nations rugby on its title partner deal with Guinness for the next Six Nations Championship. 'Fantastic litigator' Max Duthie is another key member of the team. Associate Will Deller brings considerable expertise in e-sports to the team, while junior partner Andy Danson has been involved in several large betting and gambling sponsorship deals.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Taylor QC

Other key lawyers:Felicity Reeve; Craig Giles; Andy Danson; Will Deller; Max Duthie

Testimonials

'Exceptional knowledge, work ethic and attention to detail mixed with a very easy-going manner. Their experience of sports regulatory work is unparalleled in the market.'

'Jonathan Taylor has unrivalled knowledge and experience of the sector and it is always a comfort when you have him on your side.'

'Craig Giles is a detailed, yet pragmatic lawyer. He advises us on a wide range of topics in the sports and media sector and his advice is always well received.'

'Max Duthie is a fantastic litigator, equipped with all the required knowledge, technical skills and advocacy technique, but without the bluster and faux-aggression that comes with many operators in the contentious sports market.'

Key Clients

International Association of Athletics Federations

Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

International Cricket Council

EPCR

Premier League

Celtic Rugby

SkyBet

Six Nations

Stronach Group

Arsenal FC

Work highlights

  • Represented the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) in two separate appeals brought before the FIA International Court of Appeal - one by the Haas Formula 1 team and another by G-Drive Racing and TDS Racing.
  • Advised Aser Media on its sale of a minority stake in Leeds United to an investment entity affiliated with the San Francisco 49ers.
  • Advising the Stronach group on the launch of its international media and wagering rights business in relation to North American horse racing and greyhound racing.
  • Advise The FA on media rights licensing programmes for all FA properties, including The FA Cup and the FA Community Shield.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s large sports practice, which gained a significant boost through its merger with leading sports boutique Couchmans in 2018, acts for international governing bodies, Premier League football clubs, sportspeople, e-sports companies, broadcasters, media and betting companies. The team’s wide-ranging expertise spans regulatory matters, governance, data and IP, media rights, commercial agreements, private investment and contentious matters such as anti-doping investigations and employment disputes. Sports marketing partner Jason Saiban is retained by Nike to manage all of the brand’s legal needs in relation to sports law; work this year has included advising Nike on sponsorship and commercial agreements with the FA and Chelsea FC and handling numerous promotions for Nike’s Brand and Digital teams, including influencer deals. Partner Darren Bailey, a specialist in governance and commercial sports law, advised the International Tennis Federation on its contract with Kosmos Investments to restructure the Davis Cup, assisting with every stage of this groundbreaking multi-billion investment deal. Mark Hill, who specialises in commercial branding and structuring, joined the firm’s Dubai office in 2018. Couchmans founder Nic Couchman is also highly regarded for sports business and rights law.

Practice head(s):Jason Saiban; Nic Couchman

Other key lawyers:Darren Bailey; Mark Hill

Testimonials

"The team at Charles Russell Speechlys have an extremely long history of working in sports law with a huge internal knowledge of how it works."

'The group can call on the expertise of a number of consultants with specific knowledge in sports disputes and are prepared to work across the world for their clients.'

'Great team players who are excellent with clients.'

'Jason Saiban's judgement and case preparation is very good and he manages risk very well.'

'The team is always on the ball. They are sharp lawyers, looking for solutions and quick turnarounds.'

Key Clients

The International Tennis Federation

Nike

Ascot Racecourse Limited

CSM Sport and Entertainment Limited

Leicester City FC

Cyclone Promotions

Rapha Racing

City Racing

World Rowing

The British Horseracing Authority

World Pro Surfers

Fitbit

Work highlights

  • Prime UK lawyers for Nike (and its subsidiary Converse), advising on everything from sponsorship, sports marketing, advertising, regulatory, privacy and data protection, to litigation, employment and real estate.
  • Advised Ascot on innovative media and data rights arrangement plus the creation by Ascot, Totepool and the Hong Kong Jockey Club of a new ‘Ascot World Pool’ betting pool.
  • Providing procurement and contract advice for all projects undertaken by the All England Lawn and Tennis Association in relation to its plan for redeveloping and expanding the venue.
  • Advised Brunswick on the sale to Formula One Management of the biggest archive of historic F1 footage.
  • Advised Rapha, a sportswear and lifestyle brand focused on road bicycle racing, clothing and accessories, in relation to sponsorship of Education First – a World Tour cycling team, and related commercial and IP matters.

Sports boutique Northridge Law LLP, which was founded in 2017 and now has almost 30 specialist sports lawyers, acts for high-profile sportspeople, international governing bodies, sports clubs and major brands. The team has recently strengthened its presence in gaming and betting with the recruitment of two lawyers for this work. This adds to its existing experience of large-scale governance and disciplinary reviews, disputes for clients such as the FA and commercial deals for individuals and corporate clients, including sponsorship agreements and service agreements. As a contentious adviser to the FA, Jonathan Ellis is frequently involved in high-profile disputes, including successfully defending the FA in appeals brought by several football clubs in respect of its licence application process for the restructured Women’s Super League. Ian Lynam, whose broad expertise spans financial regulation, governance, player contracts and M&A, represented AC Milan in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where he managed to overturn their ban from European football following allegations that they were in breach of the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations. On the commercial side, the team has advised new client PUMA on a partnership deal with F1 racer Lewis Hamilton. Disputes partner James Eighteen is also recommended by clients.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Ellis; Ian Lynam

Other key lawyers:James Eighteen

Testimonials

"Since their inception Northridge have established themselves as the leading sports law firm in the country. They are friendly but with a polished corporate style that is always professional but engaging."

"Their approach to clients is second to none; they are knowledgeable, approachable and understand the challenges you face as an in-house lawyer."

"Ian Lynam has a fantastic commercial style, and a huge knowledge of the UK soccer market, whether this relates to players, clubs or agents."

"Jon Ellis is excellent and gives clear advice at all times. He is very keen to provide a superb service."

"James Eighteen has fantastic experience and knowledge. He has a calm manner that inspires confidence and is always willing to take on work, even at short notice." 

"Paul Shapiro is a very good sports lawyer, with a clear ability to focus on the commercial aspects of contract debates."

"Jon Walters is a calm and practical thinker. He is also a trusted adviser who works with you to find a solution."

Key Clients

Chelsea FC

AC Milan

The Football Association

Welsh Rugby Union

The British Horseracing Authority

Dele Alli

Independent Review Panel of Integrity in Tennis

Puma

Premier Rugby Limited

Rugby Football League

Work highlights

  • Advising British Horseracing Authority on redrafting its rules and regulations.
  • Advised Dele Alli on his high-profile negotiation of a long-term contract extension with Tottenham Hotspur.
  • Advising Betway on all its employment and sponsorship matters.
  • Exclusive UK adviser to Puma on sports marketing and sponsorship.
  • Advising the governing bodies of international tennis on an independent review of integrity in tennis.

Onside Law Limited’s team represents governing bodies across a range of sports, including cricket, rugby and horseracing, in addition to acting for investors, corporates, sports clubs and high profile sportspeople. On the governance side, partner Chris Walsh continues to advise the English Cricket Board on all legal aspects of its affairs, including the creation of new elite cricket competition, The Hundred. On the commercial side, the team acted for Kohler in its sponsorship deal with Manchester United, with key partners Oliver Hunt, Jamie Singer and Stevie Loughrey  leading. Junior partner Adam Leadercramer acts for major rights holders such as ATP Media and has significant expertise in motor sports initiatives as an adviser to the FIA in Switzerland. Simon Thorp heads the corporate department. The practice has been expanding, adding a number of new lawyers including Rebecca Craigie, who represents footballers and governing bodies in commercial matters.

Practice head(s):Chris Walsh; Jamie Singer; Oliver Hunt; Simon Thorp; Adam Leadercramer

Other key lawyers:Stevie Loughrey: Leon Farr

Testimonials

"Onside Law have been our trusted legal adviser for many years, assisting us on many corporate and commercial matters. We especially value the depth and breadth of their sports sector expertise and feel that they really understand our business and the situations where we require their advice. We always receive clear, understandable and practical advice and find them friendly and easy to work with."

"The Onside Law team all have deep knowledge of the sports industry, are extremely professional and provide excellent client service."

"Partners Simon Thorpe and Jamie Singer are approachable, responsive and very practical in their approach and we are always impressed with their commercial understanding of our business needs."

Key Clients

England and Wales Cricket Board

British Horseracing Authority

Christian Wade

Cricket World Cup 2019 Limited

World Rugby

Gfinity PLC

Team Sky

West Ham United

Tommy Fleetwood

Eden Hazard

Ryder Cup

Red Bull Racing F1 Team

Work highlights

  • Provided all legal services to Cricket World Cup 2019 Limited, the SPV which was set up by the ECB and ICC to run and operate the ICC Cricket World Cup.
  • Advised TRM on key commercial deals with the International Cricket Council, RFU, Tottenham Hotspur and on consultancy advice to CVC partners in relation to their £200m investment into Premiership Rugby.
  • Ongoing advice to Team Sky, including the negotiations to secure the services of Grand Tour winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas to the team on multi-year contracts.
  • Advising Gfinity PLC on deals with various sports rights holders including the Premier League and  Formula One.
  • Advised Leeds United on approximately 40 player transfers.

Centrefield LLP predominantly acts for football clubs and governing bodies such as the PFA in various areas, spanning player transfers, CAS disputes, commercial deals, the transfer of players post-Brexit and managerial appointments and dismissals. During 2018, Matthew Bennett, who boasts expertise in regulation and governance, dispute resolution, and athlete representation, advised on several substantial football transfers in the Premier League. On the contentious side the team recently defended Manchester City against Velez Sarsfield in respect of the club's registration of a young player and acted for Everton in their defence of a claim by an intermediary alleging that they were owed compensation for services they previously provided the club in respect of a player. Senior associate Oliver Sadler works with clubs, governing bodies, athletes and agencies, advising on commercial rights and contractual matters including sponsorship and image rights.

Practice head(s):Matthew Bennet; David Bentham; Edward Canty

Other key lawyers:Oliver Saddler

Key Clients

Manchester City Football Club

Manchester United Football Club

The Rugby Players’ Association

Professional Footballers’ Association

British Cycling

Lancashire County Cricket Club

Leicester Tigers Rugby

Liverpool Football Club

Ole Gunnar Solskjear

Major League Soccer

Bristol Sport Group

Everton Football Club

Work highlights

  • Acted on various transfers throughout the 2018 winter and summer transfer windows, including over £500m of Premier League transfers during the summer window alone.
  • Advised the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) on its arrangements with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for procuring player and ex-player appearances at RFU events and associated hospitality.
  • Acting for Queens Park Rangers in proceedings against the English Football League in respect of the EFL’s Championship Financial Fair Play Regulations.
  • Advised José Mourinho and Manchester United on the FA charge brought against Mourinho for swearing in the aftermath of the Manchester United v Newcastle United fixture in October 2018.
  • Advised Fleetwood Town in its successful challenge to the award of a Sole Arbitrator in a FA Rule K Arbitration Award before the High Court.

The sports group at CMS, which has continued to benefit from the firm's 2017 merger with Olswang and Nabarro, focuses primarily on commercial and corporate work for private investors and a diverse set of household names, including BT Sports and IMG Media. The practice displays further expertise on contentious matters for governing bodies and corporations. In a recent highlight, partner David Zeffman advised the ECB on its sale of media rights to Sony Pictures Networks India. On the regulatory side, IP partner Tom Scourfield frequently advises clients such as Team GB on IP protection and enforcement programmes and applications for live blocking injunctions. In the field of e-sports IP partner Joel Vertes acts for League of Legends team Fnatic.

Practice head(s):David Zeffman

Other key lawyers:Tom Scourfield; Joel Vertes

Key Clients

UEFA

Team GB

All England Lawn Tennis Club

TEAM

BT Sport

England and Wales Cricket Board

Endeavour/IMG

FNATIC

Queensberry Promotions Limited

Zuffa International, LLC

New Balance Athletic Shoes Limited

Sports Information Services, Betfred and the Tote

Work highlights

  • Advising BT on the long term extension and expansion to its overall content cross-supply deal with Sky.
  • Providing legal support to Team GB for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
  • Advised Endeavor on its acquisition of NeuLion, Inc., a leading service provider in OTT broadcasting.
  • Defending New Balance Athletic Shoes in a claim by the management companies of Belgian former Manchester United football player, Marouane Fellaini.
  • Advising Zuffa International LLC on a joint venture with Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia-China Investment Fund and Mubadala to establish a joint venture to establish and organise UFC events in Russian states.

DLA Piper’s sports team has standout expertise in intellectual property and data protection matters, as well as media rights sales, sponsorship deals, stadium financing and, in more emerging fields, e-sports and virtual advertising platforms. The team - which is led by global media, sport and entertainment co-chair Nick Fitzpatrick - has recently been tackling digital piracy matters for sports broadcasters, successfully seeking court orders to disrupt servers illegally hosting live content. Managing partner and IP litigator Simon Levine is currently managing the Premier League’s copyright enforcement programme across the UK, while in the financing space Paul Gray has recently advised lenders on potential financings to four major football clubs in Europe. Associate Sam Churney, whose focus is on brand exploitation, commercial exploitation of media rights and IP, worked with Rakuten on its shirt sponsorship arrangement with Barcelona FC and the company’s endorsement deal with Spanish football star Andres Iniesta.

Practice head(s):Nick Fitzpatrick

Other key lawyers:Simon Levine; Paul Gray; Sam Churney

Testimonials

'The sports team at DLA Piper are able to draw on extensive sector experience and adapt quickly to meet the needs of the client.'

'Probably more experience in sports law then any other firm.'

'Ruth Hoy has lots of experience, knowledge and commercial good sense.'

'John Cloke and Patrick Mitchell are experts in their field.'

Key Clients

Unilever

The Football Association Premier League

beIN Sports

Discovery Communications

National Basketball Association

UNICEF

ESPN

The Football League

British Horseracing Authority

Goldman Sachs

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

HSBC Bank plc

Afghanistan Cricket Board

Bridgestone

International Olympic Committee

Genius Sports

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

TEAM

Work highlights

  • Represented the Premier League on the extension of a court order requiring the UK's major internet service providers - including Sky, BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, plusnet and EE - to disrupt servers that host illegal streams of Premier League matches.

  • Advised Unilever in respect of several of its most important football sponsorship arrangements.
  • Advising beIn Sports on acquisition/distribution arrangements for Serie A, ITF, ATP Finals, Tour De France, FIFA World Cup 2018, F1, Ski Classics and Ballon D’Or.
  • Sole legal adviser to the English Football League in respect of all aspects of its sale of its premium property, the media rights for the UK market.

Farrer & Co’s sports team has a strong track record of advising national governing bodies on event planning, safeguarding, disciplinary matters, reputation management and disputes, in addition to a wealth of expertise providing bespoke advice to athletes and footballers on their private affairs and handling complex safeguarding investigations for major football clubs. Partner Henry Sainty, who specialises in commercial contracts for sports rights holders, advised UK Athletics on the staging of the 2018 Athletics World Cup, which included corporate structuring issues and sponsorship and broadcast agreements. Associate Tom Rudkin specialises in disputes, arbitration and reputation management and brings considerable litigation experience to the group, having previously represented clients in the High Court and the CAS.

Practice head(s):Julian Pike

Other key lawyers:Henry Sainty; Tom Rudkin

Testimonials

'Led by Julian Pike, the Farrers team has an excellent understanding of the unique pressures facing this business area whilst also providing top flight legal services.'

'Julian Pike is excellent and down to earth, offers practical advice.'

'Tom Rudkin is a pleasure to work with and very bright.'

Key Clients

The Football Association

British Olympic Association

British Gymnastics

UK Athletics

Lawn Tennis Association

PGA European Tour

British Rowing

International Canoe Federation

Marylebone Cricket Club

Henley Royal Regatta

Work highlights

  • Acted for the PGA European Tour on a range of issues including a complete overall of its governance structures and reviewing and updating its member handbooks across three tours.
  • Advising a number of governing bodies and sports clubs on safeguarding and welfare issues, in particular historical allegations of abuse.
  • Continuing to provide a range of advice to Henley Royal Regatta.
  • Continuing to advise British Gymnastics on a range of corporate governance, reputation management and disciplinary matters.
  • Acted for longstanding client British Rowing on a number of matters including the acquisition and deployment of a new CRM system.

Media, entertainment and sports boutique Level Law, which was founded in 2017, acts for international football players and athletes, media organisations, international governing bodies and private companies invested in the sector. The team primarily advises broadcasters on commercial deals, including media rights sales and acquisitions and sponsorship agreements, and acts for sports stars such as Anthony Joshua and Usain Bolt, in contractual matters, and football players in major transfers and contract negotiations. Morris Bentata, whose broad expertise encompasses all areas of commercial sports law,  recently advised DAZN on its multibillion-dollar acquisition of premium sports broadcasting rights in multiple countries. 'Brilliant and conscientious' partner Daniel Lowen, who primarily represents talent in the football industry, is regularly instructed in dispute resolution matters and high-profile disciplinary cases for clients. New hire Rowena Samarasinhe brings expertise to the team in relation to managing international sponsorship and broadcast agreements, often in the context of Olympic sports or football.

Practice head(s):Dan Harrington; Daniel Lowen; Fraser Reid; Morris Bentata

Other key lawyers:Rowena Samarasinhe

Testimonials

"Level Law are always on hand to help whatever the problem is and they are incredibly knowledgeable in the world of football regulation."

"Level Law carries out excellent work with an impressive list of clients."

"Dan Lowen is excellent: he displays good legal knowledge combined with excellent industry knowledge and commercial and tactical awareness."

Key Clients

DAZN

Asian Football Confederation

Perform Content / Opta

Setanta Sports Broadcasting

Inter-regional Sports Group

Pitch International LLP

CAA Eleven

Comosa AG

Astro

Anthony Joshua

Usain Bolt

Chris Froome

Work highlights

  • Structuring and advising on the marketing and sale of global commercial rights to football in Asia.
  • Advising a leading sports rights agency on commercial agreements and strategy across multiple major sports events.
  • Advising boxing champion Anthony Joshua on his long-term deal with Matchroom Sport.
  • Advising on Welsh footballer Aaron Ramsey's contractual arrangements with Juventus (and all commercial agreements).

Lewis Silkin LLP's sports practice acts for Premier League clubs, governing bodies such as the RFU, and private companies, providing services encompassing marketing, IP, brand protection, corporate transactions, commercial agreements, immigration, employment and litigation. Sports marketing partner Alex Kelham represents Saudi Arabia's first female racing driver and recently advised Goodwood Racecourse on their World Horseracing digital media platform. Recent hire John Shea specialises in contentious work, representing clients before FIFA or the CAS in regulatory compliance matters. Partner Andrew Osborne has an encyclopaedic knowledge of player transfers, appointments and immigration, particularly in relation to the impact that Brexit will have on the UK market. On the commercial side, Jeremy Summers provided Alex Thomson Racing with advice on the negotiation and finalisation of a sponsorship deal with Nokia, involving a complex shared intellectual property agreement.

Practice head(s):Alex Kelham; Andrew Osborne

Other key lawyers:John Shea

Key Clients

Rugby Football Union

Chelsea F.C

Leeds United F.C.

Visa Europe Limited

Virgin Racing

Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.

Fulham Football Club

Ascot

Work highlights

  • Advised on and drafted new centralised employment contracts for the RFU Women’s 15 team.
  • Advised Leeds United on the appointment of former Argentina and Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa and his management team.
  • Advising Virgin Racing on a range of standard agreements including the standard driver agreement.
  • Advised Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club on the identification, recruitment and transfer of the club’s summer transfer targets.
  • Advised Ascot Racecourse Limited on a range of commercial issues: from sponsorship, data issues, disputes and settlement of a personal injury claim as well as licensing deals.

Mishcon de Reya LLP's 'hard working' sports team of 'hard negotiators' has strength and depth in contentious, regulatory and disciplinary work across a range of sports, acting for clubs, athletes, rights holders and governing bodies, as well as handling commercial and corporate matters including sponsorships, player contracts, joint venture agreements and partnership agreements. In a recent highlight, Liz Ellen, acting alongside associate Stefania Genesis, successfully pursued several multi-jurisdictional claims on behalf of the Governing Bodies of Tennis against tennis players accused of match-fixing and other forms of corruption. On the commercial side, managing associate Simon Leaf, whose expertise spans media rights, sponsorship, international transfers and commercial contracts, worked with Ellen on Matchroom Boxing's $1bn joint venture deal with Perform Group to stage and air boxing events in the US.

Practice head(s):Liz Ellen

Other key lawyers:Stefania Genesis; Simon Leaf

Testimonials

"Mishcon de Reya's sports group have a very good understanding of the sector and specifically how to balance the competing demands of legal, commercial, regulation and stakeholder requirements within the sporting environment."

"One of the most commercially-minded teams working in this area: they really understand the industry and provide practical advice across a range of practice areas."

"Communications are prompt, concise and with a clear structure working towards the end result."

"The nature of our work with Mishcon is always of a highly sensitive nature. The level of compassion, sympathy and professional expertise has been of an exceptional standard."

"Liz Ellen is probably the best sports lawyer in the country. She is assisted by Stefania Genesis who is also top class in terms of advise and tactical solutions."

"Liz Ellen achieves fantastic results for clients as a result of her in-depth knowledge of the industry (particularly in football) and her ability to come up with creative solutions."

"Stefania Genesis is extremely efficient, excellent with clients, operates well beyond her level of PQE and developing a strong reputation in the area."

"Mehmet Karagoz comes from a fraud litigation background: he has excellent legal knowledge and is particularly strong in commercial and fraud cases in the sports industry."

"Tom Murray and Max Nicolaides are strong additions to the team at the junior associate end, bringing a particular focus on e-sports."

Key Clients

Matchroom Sport Limited & Matchroom Boxing Limited

World Snooker Limited

Professional Darts Corporation

Estars

England Boxing

International Tennis Federation

Southampton Football Club

Birmingham City Football Club

Rugby Football Union

Rogon

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice to World Snooker Limited including drafting the latest version of the player's contract and assisting with disputes arising between the WSL and players/third parties.
  • Advised the Rwanda Development Board on its high-profile sleeve partnership agreement with Arsenal FC.
  • Advised First For E Players Limited in setting up the UK and Ireland's first live Fortnite competition.
  • Advising England Boxing, the UK governing body of amateur and Olympic-style boxing, on its policies and procedures.
  • Advising Castore Sportswear on its major endorsement/partnership agreements with Andy Murray and his brand management company 77 Management.

Pinsent Masons LLP's sports group has particular expertise in handling major corporate matters for clients, including establishing new businesses, advising on shareholder rights and acting on the acquisition of professional football teams. The team displays further ability on regulatory disputes, sensitive safeguarding matters and commercial work; in the former area partner Julian Diaz-Rainey, whose clients include several Premier League football clubs, was recently instructed by the IAAF in two high-stakes CAS appeals, and on the commercial side partner Trevor Watkins has been retained by Yorkshire 2019 to manage numerous contractual requirements in relation to the upcoming UCI Road World Championships. Additional expertise is offered by the practice in employment law, where the team are currently instructed in a leading tribunal case on the scope of employee rights, and competition law, an area in which partner Angelique Bret is the firm's go-to specialist.

Practice head(s):Trevor Watkins

Other key lawyers:Julian-Diaz Rainey; Trevor Watkins; Angelique Bret

Testimonials

"The Pinsent Masons team have great attention to detail, awareness of issues and ability to understand them quickly."

"The sports group show empathy and awareness of commercial ramifications."

"The sports team at Pinsent Masons are quick to respond in urgent situations and provide a one-stop shop if required due to the firm's scale of expertise."

"The team has involved cross border offices and the co-ordination between these has generally been exceptional."

"We benefited greatly from the knowledge of partners Trevor Watkins and Julian Diaz-Rainey."

"Trevor Watkins' knowledge of the horse racing industry has been invaluable."

"Wendy Nicholson has been exceptional in relation to procurement advice."

Key Clients

The Jockey Club/Jockey Club Racecourses

UK Sport 12

IAAF

Liverpool FC

Manchester City FC

Infront Sports & Media AG

Leeds United FC

The Football Association

London Legacy Development Corporation

Sport England

Work highlights

  • Advising on issues arising out of an inquiry into any connections Manchester City Football Club may have had with the convicted child sex offender, Barry Bennell.
  • Advised Infront on the terms of its investment and its ongoing rights as a shareholder in Copa90.
  • Assisted the owners of Championship Racing in building their idea into a viable business.
  • Advised on the potential or actual acquisitions and sales of 25 of the professional football teams within the top two divisions in England.

Squire Patton Boggs' international sports group advises football clubs, players and governing bodies, handling significant corporate, commercial and regulatory matters, as well as employment disputes. Stephen Sampson, who heads both the London litigation practice and the sports and entertainment industry group, advises Chelsea Football Club on its major transfers and contract negotiations, while sports arbitrator Stuart McInnes recently worked alongside Sampson to successfully defend Saudi Arabian team Al Shabab FC against a series of claims brought by FIFA. Corporate partner David Hull, who has a track record of advising on major football club takeovers, assisted International Entertainment Corporation on its acquisition of Wigan Athletic FC. Lloyd Thomas and Alastair Pursell both left the practice in 2018 to work in-house.

Practice head(s):Stephen Sampson

Other key lawyers:Stuart McInees; David Hull

Key Clients

AIA Company Limited

Aston Villa FC

Blackburn Rovers

Chelsea FC

Fulham FC

The International Tennis Federation

Mesut Özil

Parkour Earth

P 11 media rights agency

Renault Sport Racing Limited

Ticket Master

United States Olympic Committee

West Bromwich Albion FC

World Sailing

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Saudi football club Al Shabab FC to resolve multiple claims before FIFA and CAS without the imposition of any sporting sanctions.
  • Represented International Entertainment Corporation on its £15m acquisition of Wigan Athletic FC.
  • Ongoing advice to Chelsea FC in relation to football transfers including the world record transfer of Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao, and the sale and loan back of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund.
  • Advising P11 on numerous agreements for digital advertising with La Liga clubs Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid and Premier League clubs Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Burnley.
  • Acting for NFFC Group Holdings Limited and Fawaz Al Hasawi in suing Nottingham Forest Football Club Limited and NF Football Investments Limited in High Court proceedings.

Brabners LLP’s sports law practice represents several national governing bodies for Olympic sports, including British Swimming and British Cycling, as well as sportspeople, media agencies and private investors. The group has particular strength handling high-profile disputes for clubs and players: in a recent case, commercial litigation specialist Paul Lunt defended England cricket star Ben Stokes against a charge of affray arising from an incident which made headlines in 2017. More broadly, the team is regularly instructed to provide governance and planning advice and draft contracts for clients, and often undertakes work for agencies, which includes negotiating consultancy agreements between agencies and agents and drafting contracts for clubs and players. Practice head Lydia Edgar has expertise in employment law, HR advice and safeguarding, while senior partner Maurice Watkins has huge experience in the sector, including many years spent as a director of Manchester United Football Club.

Practice head(s):Maurice Watkins; Lydia Edgar

Other key lawyers:Paul Lunt

Key Clients

Liverpool Football Club

Leicester City Football Club

Ligue Européenne de Natation

WMG Management Europe Ltd

International Sports Management

Basketball England

British Swimming

European Tour Caddies Association

British Judo

Commonwealth Games Federation

Barnsley Football Club

Rugby Players Association

Work highlights

  • Acting for a promising young footballer in a claim brought against an opponent (and his club) who caused him a career-ending injury in a negligent challenge.
  • Instructed by Birmingham City Football Club to defend a claim brought against the club by Middlesbrough Football Club concerning allegations that it had induced the breach of employment contracts between Middlesbrough and members of its backroom staff.
  • Instructed by the representative body of athletes and para-athletes selected to compete for British Swimming in international events to act on their behalf in consultation with British Swimming concerning a review of the current British Swimming Elite Athlete Participation and Selection Agreement and Code of Conduct.
  • Instructed by a high profile foreign investor to undertake a due diligence exercise, produce a detailed due diligence report and draft a share purchase agreement in respect of a planned share acquisition of an EFL Championship football club.
  • Advised on a number of commercial agreements for football agents, agencies and their clients directly.

Clifford Chance LLP's international sports practice advises governing bodies on commercial, contentious and regulatory matters, including event hosting and IP, while also acting for shareholders and governing bodies on major disputes. The firm has been advising US businessman and Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke on his £600m bid to buy the whole of the Premier League football club. Litigation partner Christopher Yates leads the firm's work with the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, an institution established to hold professionals in the sector accountable for breaching human rights, whereas commercial/M&A partner Jennifer Mbaluto specialises in media rights work.

Practice head(s):Chris Yates

Other key lawyers:Jennifer Mbaluto

Testimonials

"A super smart group of individuals, who are incredibly dedicated to providing a great service and understanding the field." 

"Senior associate James Cranston goes above and beyond to provide a great client service."

"Junior associate Rory Scott is incredibly diligent, and provides thoughtful practical advice."

Key Clients

Arsenal Football Club

Centre for Sport and Human Rights

Stanley Kroenke and Kroenke Sports Enterprises

International Paralympic Committee

Invictus Games Foundation

McLaren Group

Pakistan Cricket Board

Real Madrid FC

Sport Resolutions anti-doping panel

UK Football Association

Valeri Belokon

VB Football Assets

World Rugby

21st Century Fox

Work highlights

  • Advising Arsenal Football Club in relation to a number of both commercial and contentious matters.
  • Successfully represented Baltic International Bank JSC and part 20 Defendant VB Football Assets in a claim in the Manchester Mercantile Court against the majority shareholder of Blackpool Football Club.
  • Acted for a president of a football club in a dispute with the English Football League following its decision to ban them from acting as an owner and director.
  • Mandated by Invictus Games Foundation as sole legal advisor, providing legal advice on all aspects of its operations including IP, commercial strategy and the organisation of the Invictus Games.
  • Advising the International Paralympic Committee on commercial matters, including sponsorship agreements and regulatory matters, including its approach to the categorisation of athletes.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP's 'very practical team' is particularly strong on sponsorship and commercial agreements, an area in which the team acts for corporations, individuals and governing bodies, and boasts further expertise managing regulatory issues for clients. The 'excellent' Michael Lister, who primarily handles sports marketing and rights exploitation mandates, recently advised Nissan on its acquisition of the e-dams Formula E team and the subsequent sponsorship, supply and driver agreements for Nissan Formula E. Bob Mitchell, whose expertise spans commercial and regulatory sports law, recently worked with associate Sam Purkiss on a review of the EFL's five-year broadcasting deal with Sky UK. Consultant Dalton Odendaal also serves as the general counsel at the Invictus Games Foundation.

Practice head(s):Bob Mitchell

Other key lawyers:Michael Lister; Dalton Odendaal; Bob Mitchell; Sam Purkiss

Testimonials

"The Harbottle & Lewis team have a in-depth knowledge of their specialist area and are able to provide practical and pragmatic commercial legal advice."

"Harbottle & Lewis' sports group have experience of sports rights contracts, from small to multi-million."

"The practice have an understanding of rights holders and brands which enables them to provide clients with win win solutions."

"Bob Mitchell is an outstanding partner; he knows our business well, recognises what is critical to us and what can be traded in negotiation, and is able to listen to concerns and respond accordingly."

"Associate Sam Purkiss was very helpful in our recent transaction and offered great value advice." 

Key Clients

Alex Hales

English Football League

David Beckham

The England Cricket Men’s and Women’s Teams

Diageo

Nissan Formula E

Watford Football Club

British Gymnastics

Nissan

Invictus Games Foundation

SecuTix

Work highlights

  • Advised England cricketer Alex Hales in relation to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s disciplinary proceedings brought through the Cricket Disciplinary Committee.
  • Conducted an independent review and prepared a written report into the communication and decision-making processes relating to the EFL’s new broadcast deal with Sky and the historical and current composition of the EFL’s Commercial Committee.
  • Advised David Beckham on the negotiation of his agreement with the new digital sports content platform OTRO.
  • Advised on and negotiated both a Title Sponsorship Agreement and Beer Partnership Agreement in relation to Diageo’s Guinness-branded sponsorship of rugby union’s Six Nations Championship.
  • Advised the Invictus Games Foundation on its arrangements with the organisers of the Invictus games Sydney 2018 including the broadcast, sponsorship and various media licensing arrangements. Also advising IGF on its Host License Agreement with the next organiser of the Invictus Games, The Hague 2020.

K&L Gates LLP's international sports practice provides full service advice to large rights holders and acquirers, such as Sony Pictures Network India and NEP Group. On the contentious regulatory side, the group represents clients including PUMA and Arena Racing Corporation, acting for the latter client in a High Court Case in which partner John Magnin represented three claimants in a case against bookmakers and betting industry stakeholders alleging copyright infringement, breach of confidence and unlawful means conspiracy. Senior partner Warren Phelops, who sits as director of the Sports Disputes Resolution Panel, has expertise spanning rights ownership and exploitation, structuring and strategy, and media issues, areas in which he frequently advises international clients.

Practice head(s):Warren Phelops

Other key lawyers:John Magnin

Key Clients

DFL Sports Enterprises GmbH (Bundesliga)

Arena Racing Corporation and The Racing Partnership

PUMA

European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL)

West Indies Cricket Board

Henry Birtles Associates

Sony Pictures Network India

Supponor

Somerset County Cricket Club

Fight Nights Global

ATP Media

WWE

Work highlights

  • Managing various commercial, regulatory and litigation matters for PUMA.
  • Advised ARC in relation to the acquisition of media rights for horse racing and greyhound racing from various domestic and international rights holders.
  • Advised Cricket West Indies on various commercial issues, including the sale of media rights, key strategic sponsorship arrangements and various other commercial partnerships.
  • Advised Sony on its acquisition of certain international sports media rights.
  • Advising Supponor in relation to various licensing arrangements with major sports rights owners relating to its virtual advertising technology.

Morgan Sports Law's 'diligent and professional' international dispute resolution practice represents athletes, including football players, Olympians, horseriders and boxers, in anti-doping proceedings, either in their defence of claims or in negligence proceedings brought against governing bodies in light of wrongful accusations. More broadly the team handles disciplinary matters, employment and contract based disputes and a wide range of other highly sensitive contentious matters that arise between sportspeople and governing bodies. Practice head Mike Morgan, who is described as 'the world's foremost athlete-focused anti-doping lawyer', also has expertise in corruption and selection disputes, and frequently represents clients in the CAS, the American Arbitration Association and FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber. Recent hire William Sternheimer is a highly regarded international arbitration and ADR lawyer, having previously worked for the CAS in several roles, latterly as the Deputy Secretary General.

Practice head(s):Mike Morgan; Lisa Lazarus; Richard Martin; William Sternheimer

Testimonials

"Morgan Sports Law is one of a number of sports-focused boutiques, but what makes it unique is its market-leading capabilities in the anti-doping sphere. Put simply, no other firm comes close to rivaling MSL in athlete anti-doping work. They are also adept at other contentious sports work, but their true specialism and what sets them apart from other firms is their anti-doping work."

"Morgan Sports Law offered first class assistance on short notice within a complicated area. The guidance and advice received was not only correct but also very useful in a practical manner."

"Mike Morgan is the world's foremost athlete-focused anti-doping lawyer. His knowledge of both the science and the law/regulations, coupled with his strategic nous, make him stand out when set against his peers."

"William Sternheimer is one of the most talented sports lawyers in the marked with a huge knowledge on sports law." 

"Mike Morgan and William Sternheimer are both excellent sport lawyers with vast experience." 

Key Clients

Chris Froome

Team Sky

Fédération Internationades Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels

Mamadou Sakho

Sofia Abramovich

Al Wathba Stables

Scottish Football Association

Ashley Johnson

Ruth Jebet

GLORY Sports International

Marwan ElShorbagy

Work highlights

  • Represented six-time Grand Tour winning Team Sky cyclist, Chris Froome, with respect to an anti-doping investigation initiated by the UCI.
  • Advising FIFPro (the global union for professional footballers) on serious health conditions developed by at least two of its members following the administration of substances at the instruction of their club; and any potential related anti-doping rule violation charges.
  • Representing Mamadou Sakho and MS Top Limited (Mr Sakho’s image rights company) in relation to their claims against the World Anti-Doping Agency.
  • Representing Kenyan-born professional long-distance and steeplechase runner, Ruth Jebet, in anti-doping proceedings brought by the Athletics Integrity Unit on behalf of the IAAF.

RPC's sports group takes a commercial approach to the sector, advising sports retailers, betting companies and major household names invested in sports on a wide range of matters covering IP, sponsorship, joint ventures, licensing and acquisitions. Outside of these core areas the practice is known for its disputes work, representing football clubs and players in HMRC disputes and investigations, and advising on tax compliance and online disputes concerning copyright and trademark issues. The practice, which is led by 'force of nature' Jeremy Drew, was boosted in 2018 by two additions - Paul Joukador, formerly of Hogan Lovells, and associate Rachel Pates-Jones, who previously worked in-house for the Welsh Rugby Union.

Practice head(s):Jeremy Drew

Other key lawyers:Adam Craggs; Paul Joukador; Rachel Pates-Jones

Testimonials

"RPC's sports team are dedicated, hard-working and thoughtful. I have worked with them on long-running litigation and have found them exceptionally far-sighted about how decisions taken on one issue may affect the client's position further down the line."

"RPC is renowned for its brilliant client care coupled with sound legal judgement." 

"David Cran is very clever, thorough and thoughtful, and charted a clear strategic line throughout the long-running litigation we worked on." 

"Jeremy Drew is truly a force of nature: very commercially savvy, he is unflappable under pressure and offers the complete service to his clients." 

"Jonathan Cary, Karen Hendy, Adam Craggs, Michelle Sloane are all equally impressive with a deeply commercially intelligent and client friendly approach to major players in the sports and retail sector."

"Josh Charalambous - a future star, his all-round ability is extraordinary for his level."

Key Clients

English Lacrosse Association

Sports Direct

BetConstruct

Newcastle United FC

Slazenger

GH Mumm

Everlast

Tommy Hilfiger

Sondico

Sport FC

Feedconstruct

Donnay

Work highlights

  • Advising BetConstruct in relation to its partnership agreement with Arsenal FC.
  • Advising Newcastle United FC in relation to football-industry wide investigations into agents' fees and player transfers.
  • Representing Sports Direct in relation to a number of high profile Commercial Court (and Court of Appeal) disputes with Rangers FC concerning football kit supply, sponsorship and retail arrangements.
  • Advising English Lacrosse Association on a range of matters, including commercial branding and data protection issues.
  • Advised Sports Direct in relation to its joint venture with Game UK involving gaming and eSports.

Sheridans' broad sports practice represents funding bodies, governing bodies, sportspeople, clubs, agencies and e-sports stakeholders, covering a range of work relating to broadcasting, media rights, digital and disciplinary matters. Practice head Andrew Nixon, a regulatory and disputes specialist, recently advised the UK Government on its selection of a host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games Federation. Daniel Geey is another key member of the team, while associate Jonny Madill, has notable expertise in sports data, e-sports and technology. In the firm's key areas of data and intellectual property the team has serious depth, spanning GDPR, infringement of data rights, trademark and copyright infringement.

Practice head(s):Andrew Nixon

Other key lawyers:Jonny Madill; Daniel Geey

Key Clients

FACEIT

Code Red Esports

Godsent

Astralis

Torpedo Gaming

Epsilon

Lightning Pandas

Esports Integrity Coalition

Game Plc

Dugout Limited

GOAT Agency

Kairos Media

Work highlights

  • Advised DCMS/UK Sport in relation to the UK bidding and assessment procedures for the selection of a candidate UK City to bid to the Commonwealth Games Federation to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
  • Advised global esports platform FACEIT on the formation of the world’s largest non-publisher esports league, which included the construction of a competition regulatory framework and a range of corporate and commercial matters, relating in particular to contracting with esports teams.
  • Advised the Rugby Football League on a number of complex legal, regulatory and commercial matters, including a restructure of the RFL’s arbitration procedures.

TSC Legal advises a variety of clients on all aspects of event hosting, including the bidding process, media rights agreements, sponsorship agreements and the procurement of host cities. The group additionally carries out sports marketing work for rights holders and brands, handles lucrative sponsorship deals and focuses on integrity in sports through a Global Sports Investigations unit that looks into problem areas such as safeguarding, betting and athlete welfare. Partner Ashley Blake advises clients such as World Sailing Championships and EPCR on media rights tenders, while consultant David Becker is often instructed in international mandates, including South Africa's World Rugby Cup bid and South African cricket captain Faf du Plessis' recent appeal before the International Cricket Court.

Practice head(s):Ashley Blake

Other key lawyers:David Becker

Testimonials

'TSC has a unique team of individuals that endeavours to deliver the highest quality of work within deadlines given. Their vast experience in strategic consulting of hosting global sports events whilst incorporating technology, media and telecoms puts them miles ahead of any other service provider in the market.'

'The team has made a big effort to understand our business, attend some of our events and as a result really get under the skin of what we are all about. They have a very personable, warm and engaging approach and I am delighted that they are partnering with us.'

'Dedicated to delivering thorough, high quality work. Always available when input is required. Goes the extra mile to deliver additional work outside of scope.'

Key Clients

European Professional Rugby Club

Volvo Ocean Race

Atlant Ocean Racing Spain

International Ski Federation

Benchmark Sport

United Kingdom Athletics

Birmingham 2018 World Indoor Athletics Championships Organising Committee

Glasgow European Indoor Athletics Championships 2019 Organising Committee

Spartan UK

ANA Inspiration

Union Cycliste Internationale

Christian Pulisic

Work highlights

  • Represented European Professional Club Rugby in relation to its overseas media rights tender.
  • Advised the organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race (now The Ocean Race) on team funding arrangements, boat design agreements and commercial partnerships.
  • Drafting and negotiating multi-million pound sponsorship deals on behalf of UK Athletics.
  • Advising on a range of commercial agreements for the organising committee of the Glasgow European Indoor Athletics Championships 2019.

Bates Wells acts for national governing bodies, sports charities, community amateur sports clubs and grassroots clubs, providing advice spanning governance, safeguarding, grant making, copyright infringement, data protection and charity incorporation in the sports sector. Jane Lougher advises sports charities on making grants and loans to improve grassroots facilities and develop larger multisport community facilities, while the 'exceptional' Thea Longley stands out for her strength on the governance side, where she acts for governing bodies across a range of sports, including cricket and rugby. Associate Lucas Atkin advises a range of sports clients on data protection issues.

Practice head(s):Thea Longley

Other key lawyers:Jane Lougher; Thea Longley; Lucas Atkin

Testimonials

"The sports team at Bates Wells Braithwaite have excellent knowledge of charity and not for profit sector."

'The team are passionate about third sector and deliver on challenging topics with empathy.'

'Thea Longley is exceptional'

'Thea Longley delivers consistently in a principled and professional way. Thea and her team are excellent in doing what is asked of them, and not looking to enforce or charge where not necessary - proportional and professional support.'

Key Clients

Football Foundation

England and Wales Cricket Board

Rugby Football Union

Lawn Tennis Association

London Sport

England Hockey

Commonwealth Games Federation

Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Amateur Swimming Association

Premier League Charitable Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised Everybody Sport and Recreation on its agreement with a land owner for the construction and leasing of a new leisure facility in Alderley Park in Cheshire East, the previous home of AstraZeneca.
  • Advising rugby club Wasps FC on its incorporation.
  • Advised the Tennis Foundation on the integration of its activities into the Lawn Tennis Association, from the transfer of programmes to the LTA, to charity law compliance to employment law advice.
  • Acting for the Premier League Charitable Fund on a variety of matters.
  • Acting for the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's global sports practice, which primarily represents football clubs, footballers and private companies, handles a high volume of stadium financing and receivables financing work in relation to the Premier League and Spain's La Liga, as well as corporate matters including joint ventures, private investment and club acquisitions. Outside of these core areas, the group advises on disputes in the CAS, the FIFA Dispute Resolution chamber and FA disciplinary hearings, as well as employment disputes and privacy and reputation matters. 'Well-connected and talented' practice head Graham Shear has expertise spanning players’ rights, third party financing, reputation management and various types of disputes, including doping matters.

Practice head(s):Graham Shear

Other key lawyers:Marc Trottier; Andrew Street

Testimonials

"The team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is capable and pragmatic."

"Graham Shear and Marc Trottier are both receptive and innovative."

'Very strong breadth and depth in sports work, including sports work of a commercial nature and raising issues of employment law. BLP have strong connections within the industry and a loyal client base.'

Key Clients

Malaga CF

West Ham Football Club

Nike Inc

Tottenham Hotspur

The FA

ODA

SBOBET

Rights & Media Funding Limited

MP & Silva

BT

Work highlights

  • Advising the London Legacy Development Corporation on its stake in the joint venture with Newham Council E20 Stadium LLP, which operates the London Stadium.
  • Advising on receivables financing work involving clubs in the Premier League. This involves the discounting of future receivables due to clubs from the Premier League.

DAC Beachcroft LLP's global sports team's has broad expertise, spanning commercial and regulatory dispute resolution, sponsorship work and IP matters. Clients include rights holders, sports associations and clubs, and the firm has particular expertise in pursuing personal injury claims on behalf of sportspeople, as well as financing work for football clubs. Jan Levinson, who specialises in commercial dispute resolution and personal injury claims, is currently advising a former Manchester City footballer on a High Court claim against the FA after he was forced to retire from the game due to an injury sustained while playing for the England under-16s team.

Practice head(s):Jan Levinson

Other key lawyers:Andrew Allan-Jones

Key Clients

Manchester United Limited

Joshua Murray

Sir Bradley Wiggins

Worcestershire County Cricket Club

ECB Cricket Discipline Commission

Brighton & Hove Albion FC

TLA Worldwide Limited

George Crook

Lincoln City Football Club

Work highlights

  • Advising a former Manchester City footballer on a multimillion-pound High Court claim against the FA and its insurers after he was forced to retire from the game due to an injury sustained during his first match for England's youth team.
  • Advised Brighton & Hove Albion FC on mandatory stadium upgrades required to the Amex Stadium following the club's promotion to the Premier League.
  • Advising cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins on various matters, having previously advised on a joint venture agreement with XIX Management Limited.
  • Advising the ECB in respect of cricket disciplinary matters, including reviewing and updating the relevant disciplinary rules; drafting disciplinary charges; and advocacy at disciplinary hearings.
  • Provided commercial advice to Envision in respect of their venture with Virgin for their Formula E team (and the rebrand of that team).

Fieldfisher's sports group represent private companies invested in the sector,  including a number of tech-focused companies, clubs and governing bodies across a wide range of sports. The team is particularly adept advising on funding solutions, including private equity investment, venture capital rounds and corporate joint ventures. Further expertise lies in advising innovative companies with a sports and entertainment focus on all aspects of their operations, including regulatory compliance and fundraising strategies, as well as handling high profile disputes. Patrick Cannon frequently introduces equity funding to clubs and governing bodies through his corporate contacts, whereas partner Jonathan Ray-Smith stands out for his extensive commercial dispute resolution work.

Practice head(s):Patrick Cannon

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Ray-Smith

Testimonials

"In terms of a depth of expertise, experience and knowledge Fieldfisher's sports group has plenty of it."

"Patrick Cannon and David Bond have a broad depth of understanding about and work well together."

Key Clients

Brabham

The British Cycling Federation

Liverpool FC

Reactoo

Bidstack Group PLC

LiveStyled

Fit XR

Norton Motorcycles

NUCA MMA

Hunton Yachts

London Sport

Rise

The Actives

British Taekwondo

Work highlights

  • Advised Brabham Branding Limited, a company owned by David Brabham, the son of ex-F1 champion Sir Jack Brabham, on a joint venture and brand licensing deal with an Australian track car manufacturer in relation to the iconic Brabham name.
  • Advised on a ground-breaking and high-profile employment status case involving former Olympic cyclist, Jessica Varnish, who has raised claims of unfair dismissal, sex discrimination, victimisation and detrimental treatment resulting from whistleblowing complaints.
  • Advising Liverpool Football Club on the expansion and consolidation of its suite of fan-facing systems into one 'omni channel' system.
  • Advising Reactoo on a fund raise in relation to IP protected technology that it has developed aimed at sports broadcasters such as Eleven Sports, which allows viewers to watch sports content live and on demand video together with friends anywhere around the world.

Fladgate LLP's sports team is particularly invested in football, F1 racing and boxing, and acts for a variety of clients in these areas including sportspeople, clubs, governing bodies, stakeholders, agencies and investors. On the commercial side, work includes media rights, image rights, ticketing terms, service agreements, promotional arrangements and digital broadcasting deals. On the financing side, 'industry leading expert' James Earl frequently advises clients on the assignment of various payments to football clubs and players, including central funds, transfer fees, broadcasting and multimedia revenues. Associate Muhammed Bhaimohmed, who handles commercial and corporate matters, brings valuable insight to the practice gained through his recent secondment to Manchester City FC and UK Sport's legal teams.

Practice head(s):James Earl

Other key lawyers:Muhammed Bhaimohmed

Testimonials

"Fladgate has an excellent understanding of sport, major event bids, public funding and the governance of major events." 

"James Earl is an industry leading expert: he has an excellent practical understanding of the business and finds pragmatic solutions should difficulties arise."

"Alex Haffner is very user client-friendly, knowledgeable and hardworking." 

Key Clients

Major League Baseball Properties Limited

Scottish Professional Football League

Josh Taylor, Professional Boxer

CREATIV HOUSE Agency

Surrey County Cricket Club

Russian Time

Artem Markelov

Team Redline

Danny Rohl

Base Contracts Limited

Work highlights

  • Sole English law adviser to Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. in connection with the baseball match between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at the London Stadium in June 2019.
  • Advised Team Redline on its agreement with McLaren for the provision of drivers to the McLaren team for the 2018 Formula One e-sports series.
  • Instructed to advise Josh Taylor on all aspects of his professional boxing career.
  • Assisting Surrey County Cricket Club on its negotiation of a contract with Facebook for the broadcast on Facebook’s 'Facebook Watch' platform.

Fletcher Sports Law's work focuses on advising big-name footballers on matters such as contracts, image rights, disciplinary matters and other disputes. The firm is led by managing director Paul Fletcher, who works with high-profile players from Premier League clubs, as well as agents, intermediaries and clubs themselves. Recent high-profile work has included advising a committee of England footballers on their commercial rights. The firm also works with clients in other sports such as rugby union, rugby league, cricket, snooker, darts, boxing, athletics and golf.

Practice head(s):Paul Fletcher

Other key lawyers:Tom Grant

Work highlights

  • Advising the Players’ Committee of the England Football Team in relation to their commercial rights and a potential new agreement with the Football Association.

Kerman & Co's sports team acts for governing bodies, event hosts, football clubs and private investors, specialising in targeting and blocking ticketing touts, drafting and negotiating key sponsorship deals and advising on the hosting and planning of major events, such as the London Marathon and the new all-female single-seater W Series championship.  Practice head Zane Shihab specialises in IP and commercial contracts, serves as in-house legal counsel to Wimbledon, and represents players in disciplinary proceedings brought before the FA. Regulatory expert James Thorndyke also advises on IP issues and regularly utilises ADR to settle matters for clients, including governing bodies and leagues.

Practice head(s):Zane Shihab

Other key lawyers:James Thorndyke

Testimonials

"What particularly sets Kerman apart is the combination of this subject-matter expertise with extensive general experience of commercial litigation. This means they are likely to be the first port of call for many clients in relation to contentious sports work."

"Kermans' sports team is an excellent unit, with a very impressive range of clients at the highest level of a number of sports."

"In respect of ticketing work, the team are true specialists."

"James Thorndyke is exceptionally diligent - he works tremendously hard to ensure the best result for his client. He also loves the law: he thinks hard about difficult legal points and innovative arguments. He also knows when to listen to counsel and when to challenge advice. James also has sound practical judgment and client communication skills." 

"James Thorndyke produces good quality written work, turns things around quickly, he is very commercial, and he gets results." 

Key Clients

All England Lawn Tennis Club

Chelsea Football Club

England and Wales Cricket Board

Horsemen’s Group

London Marathon Events Limited

London & Surrey Cycling Partnership

Pit Stop Brand Consultancy

Racehorse Owners Association

Rugby Football Union

Tictrac

UEFA

W Series

Welsh Rugby Union

World Marathon Majors

Work highlights

  • Advising W Series Limited on sponsorship and outsourcing agreements.
  • Advised All England Lawn Tennis Club (Championships) Limited in a High Court claim brought against Aldi Stores Limited.
  • Advised London & Surrey Cycling Partnership on the sponsorship of the series of events RideLondon.
  • Advising London Marathon Events Limited on all of its events.
  • Advising The All England Lawn Tennis Club (Championships) Limited on enforcing its ticket terms and conditions to The Championships, Wimbledon.

McCormicks' sports team predominantly carry out full-service work for the Premier League, the Isthmian Football League and a number of well-known football and rugby clubs, handling high-profile disputes, sponsorship and contractual agreements and compliance with international regulatory standards. More broadly the team represents shoot proprietors and cycling clients, such as Paul Lamb Racing, advising on compliance and approval applications. Practice head Peter McCormick has longstanding connections with the Premier League, while corporate partner Jon Healey handles a high volume of forward financing work for clubs. Philip Edmondson manages the firm's litigation portfolio for sporting clients.

Practice head(s):Peter McCormick; Jon Healey

Other key lawyers:Philip Edmondson

Key Clients

The Premier League

The Premier League Charitable Fund

Leeds United FC

The Bostik League

Professional Game Match Officials

Frank Boddy

Visit Harrogate

Harrogate Town AFC

Walsall FC

McLaren Formula One

Otley RUFC

Leeds Rhinos RLFC

Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Robert Jones

Liam Botham

Norwich City FC

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Premier League Charitable Fund, which channels Premier League funds to football clubs to help them harness their power to both motivate and engage with people in their community.
  • Advising Leeds United FC continuously since 1989.
  • Retained as the solicitors to the Isthmian Football League, advising on all aspects of corporate and commercial activity.
  • Advising Frank Boddy, the proprietor of nine shoots namely Ripley Castle, the Nidd Estate, Hob Green, the Mountgarret Shoots, Hardcastle and Heathfield Grouse Moors, Eagle Hall, Ashfold Side and Cayton Gill.

  • Retained legal advisers to Harrogate Town AFC, a club promoted to the National League in 2018 and now only one division away from the EFL.

Simons Muirhead & Burton's sports team acts for clubs, governing bodies, broadcasters and private companies, specialising in the areas of media rights, data rights and contentious regulatory cases. Media rights specialist Marc Sobol brings significant in-house broadcasting knowledge to the practice; in 2018 he acted on two major broadcasting deals, including the sale of European Professional Club Rugby's TV rights to Channel 4 and TV3. On the contentious side, the group, led by experienced litigator Stephen Shortnes, frequently represents Premier League clubs in high-profile disputes covering areas as diverse as terminations, 'tapping-up' allegations, forgery and race discrimination claims.

Practice head(s):Marc Sobol

Other key lawyers:Stephen Shortnes

Key Clients

European Professional Club Rugby

Watford Association Football Club

London Irish Rugby Football Club

Total Performance Data Limited

Professional Squash Association

Cage Warriors

British Eventing

Work highlights

  • Advised on sports broadcasting deal bringing Europe’s premier club rugby competition to free-to-air television for the first time.
  • Advised on broadcasting deal between Europe’s and the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotions.
  • Advising the PSA on a multi-year global distribution agreement with Facebook for all PSA matches.

Slaughter and May's multi-disciplinary sports team stand out for its work on stadium construction and finance matters for Premier League clubs and event hosts, including the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and Arsenal FC. The magic circle firm is a go-to firm for big-ticket corporate transactions - it advised US businessman Shahid Khan on his bid for Wembley Stadium - while also handling other commercial matters such as media distribution deals, partnership and sponsorship agreements. The team's work for football clubs also covers governance work, employment matters and 'bet the company' disputes. Practice head Andrew Jolly regularly handles major transactions as well as corporate governance reviews.

Practice head(s):Andrew Jolly

Key Clients

Arsenal Football Club

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club

Everton Football Club

Rugby Football Union

Boat Race Company

Cambridge University Boat Club

United States Ski and Snowboard Association

Fulham Football Club

Marylebone Cricket Club

Work highlights

  • Advised Everton FC on the construction of a new 50,000 seat stadium at Bramley Moore Dock and the redevelopment of Goodison Park.
  • Advising Tottenham Hotspur on the construction of a new 62,000 seat stadium at White Hart Lane.
  • Acted for Shahid Khan on his proposed offer to purchase Wembley Stadium from The Football Association.
  • Acted for Tottenham Hotspur in connection with short- and long-form versions of a lucrative and long-term kit supply and sponsorship agreement with Nike.
  • Advising Lendlease Construction Europe on all aspects of its ambitious project for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022.

While predominantly acting for football clubs and private investors, the sports team at Walker Morris LLP also frequently advises on the selling and purchase of clubs or shareholdings in clubs, as well as sponsorship deals, commercial agreements, partnership agreements and disputes between clubs, often concerning compensation claims, or between individuals and governing bodies. Corporate partner David Hinchliffe represents Premier League and EFL clubs, and has a niche in advising clearing banks, stadium companies and debt funds on financial activity in relation to football, including takeovers. Senior associate Katie Reed, who previously worked in-house at Manchester City FC, recently advised two football clubs on major shirt sponsorship deals.

Practice head(s):David Hinchliffe

Other key lawyers:Katie Reed; Geoff Cunningham

Testimonials

'Every partner that I deal with is always readily available at any time. An invaluable service in the world of professional sport.'

'A real in-depth knowledge of football and its key stakeholders and a partner in David Hinchliffe that runs a tight ship and a great responsive team.'

'I have nothing but a high regard for David Hinchcliffe and Geoff Cunningham. Their advice is always measured and very sound. They have a real passion for their work, it's not just a job; you sense a real enjoyment at getting the right answer and solution. They are also fun to work with, knowledgeable, personable and decent.'

Key Clients

AFC Bournemouth

Burnley FC

Crystal Palace FC

Everton FC

Fulham FC

Bolton Wanderers FC

Norwich City FC

Nottingham Forest FC

Reading FC

Sheffield Wednesday FC

Rotherham United FC

Scunthorpe United FC

Leyton Orient FC

Dagenham & Redbridge FC

Langford Holdings

General American Capital Partners LLC

Amir Khan

New Era Global Sports

Work highlights

  • Acted for the UK-based purchaser of the majority shareholding in Belgian football club Royale Union Saint Gilloise.
  • Advised General American Capital Partners on the restructure and settlement of Soccerex's existing debt and an investment in Soccerex which involved inserting a new management and operations structure.
  • Provided general structural and commercial advice to our client on the purchase of FC Girondins de Bordeaux. and inserting a new management structure.
  • Advised Burnley Football Club on its shirt sponsorship deal with Laba360.
  • Exclusive legal services provider to former world champion boxer Amir Khan.

Wiggin LLP's sports group specialises in advising media organisations in the sector on distribution deals and rights acquisitions, and representing betting companies and rights holders in various partnership and data exploitation matters. The team works with clients such as governing bodies and broadcasters on the regulatory constraints around traditional and emerging forms of media and entertainment and represents them in contentious cases relating to areas such as libel, reputation management and breach of contract. Practice head Ross Sylvester specialises in sports rights acquisition and distribution, advising major clients such as Virgin Media, Kosmos and DAZN on high value deals in the sector. Associate Sarah MacDonald, who leads on sponsorship, advertising and marketing, recently acted for international footballers Gerard Pique and Kaka in two lucrative corporate and commercial deals.

Practice head(s):Ross Sylvester

Other key lawyers:Sarah MacDonald

Key Clients

DAZN Group / Perform / Opta

Manchester United / Manchester United TV

Racecourse Media Group

PGA Tour

Our Star Club

Gerard Piqué

Virgin Media

PokerStars/BetStars

Digital Sports Mgmt

Kaká

Work highlights

  • Advising DAZN on a range of content acquisitions.
  • Advising Manchester United on distribution arrangements relating to the MUTV Channel.
  • Advised Addison Global on their shirt sponsorship and affiliation deal with Watford for their MoPlay betting app.
  • Advised Marathonbet on their global betting partnership with Manchester City.
  • Acted for Gerard Piqué on his investment into The Players Tribune.

Clintons acts for clients including footballers, media agencies, governing bodies, private companies and charitable foundations, typically advising on sponsorship and marketing agreements, acquisitions, contractual negotiations and regulatory matters. On the contentious side the team handles disputes arising from alleged breach of contract. Senior partner Mel Stein has particular expertise representing high profile footballers and advising clients in regulatory matters, whereas litigation partner Karim Bouzidi handles a wide range of disputes including regulatory and disciplinary proceedings.

Practice head(s):Mel Stein

Other key lawyers:Karim Bouzidi

Testimonials

"Mel Stein has a very unique insight and understanding of the inner workings of the sports industry."

'Simply the best legal advice and support whenever our company needs it.'

Key Clients

The Sports PR Company

National League

Didier Drogba Foundation

Sportquake Limited

Joey Barton

Swimathon Foundation

Jonathan Walter

Jako UK Ltd

Association of Football Agents

Barnet Football Club

Work highlights

  • Acting for The National League in respect of all its key commercial sponsorship and broadcasting negotiations.
  • Dealing with various commercial, sponsorship and marketing agreements for Sportquake, including those with Liverpool, Newcastle, The FA, Paris St Germain, Valencia and Fulham.
  • Representing The Sports PR Company Limited on a High Court claim.

Dentons’ sports law group primarily handles corporate work, including acquisitions and sales of football clubs and companies, financings and insolvencies, and commercial work, covering licensing rights agreements, hosting agreements and competition launches. In the contentious space the team represents players, clubs and private companies, typically in contractual disputes. Practice head Richard Barham specialises in M&A, financing, league structures and event bidding. Associate Nick Harrison handles the majority of the team’s commercial contracts work for a broad spectrum of clients.

Practice head(s):Richard Barham

Other key lawyers:Nick Harrison

Key Clients

Eventica Communications re World Football Forum

Kevin Magnussen (Formula 1 Driver) and Jack Jones/Bestseller regarding Renault F1 team

Willmott Dixon Regen (re Brentford FC)

Woodstock Partners (sale of Oxford United FC)

Morgan Sindell (dispute regarding Lancashire Cricket Club)

Saracens RFC

Silverstone Circuits Limited

Science in Sport plc

Work highlights

  • Advising Science in Sport plc on its £32m acquisition of PhD Nutrition Ltd, a premium, innovation-led protein brand, and its related placing of shares to raise £29m.
  • Advising Mash on the prospective sale of 100% of the share capital of St James' Holdings Limited, the owner of Newcastle United Football Club.
  • Advising Eleven Sports challenge of UEFA's so-called 'black-out' rule.
  • Advised Saracens Limited on all commercial contract and corporate matters.

Hamlins LLP's sports group, which is made up of 'highly experienced partners who have worked both in and for sports organisations', handles a wide ambit of commercial work, spanning sponsorship agreements, media rights sales, IP, event staging and football transfer deals. Practice head Matthew Pryke - 'a genuine market leader' - has helped clients to structure and launch a number of sports series and events, while partner Christopher Hutchings specialises in privacy, defamation and reputation management.

Practice head(s):Matthew Pryke

Other key lawyers:Christopher Hutchings

Testimonials

"Hamlins are led by highly experienced partners who have worked both in and for sports organisations, and  have experience of working across a range of sports including football, cricket, boxing, motor sport, rugby, snooker, tennis, and sailing."

"Hamlins has a unique offering which covers all aspects of sports, from regulatory, sponsorship, player management, reputation management and sports disputes."

"Matthew Pryke is one of the leading experts in advising new and short format sports." 

"Matthew Pryke stands out as a genuine market leader. He is both smart and focused with an ability to find solutions which add value. He has a broad understanding of the whole sports market which is second to none in the industry."

Key Clients

SailGP

The English Cricket Board

366 Group Limited

Oracle Racing Inc.

La Liga Lowdown

Tie Break Tens

Youth Sport Trust

World Snooker

Work highlights

  • Working with Oracle Racing Inc. to advise on the structuring, protection and launch of new global sporting league, SailGP.
  • Advising the ECB on commercial arrangements and agreements in relation to the Cricket World Cup 2019.
  • Serving as lead legal adviser on all matters relating to the new tennis format and series of Tie Break Tens.
  • Assisting with the negotiation and structuring of driver arrangements for the talent in both F1 and F2, including Jack Aitken.

Howard Kennedy LLP's sports team specialises in representing HNW clients in the sector in complex disputes, spanning employment, fraud, divorce proceedings, contractual law and licensing. The team also advises clients on their commercial and financial endeavours, ranging from image rights contracts to personal business matters such as property investments. Lois Langton handles relationship management and financial remedy work. Litigation partner Fiona Hinds represents athletes and sports businesses in disputes of a regulatory or commercial nature.

Practice head(s):Lois Langton; Fiona Hinds

Work highlights

  • Representing two-time WBO world boxing champion Scott Harrison in his appeal to the Board of Boxing Control after it refused to return his boxing licence.
  • Advising a leading professional tennis player in a dispute with his agent/manager.
  • Advising the sub-agent of a Premier League footballer concerning a contractual dispute.
  • Acting for an investment firm on image rights contracts with high profile international footballers.
  • Advised a former Premier League and international footballer and his wife on personal and business matters.

Mills & Reeve LLP's sports team has notable strength representing clients in a wide range of arbitration and litigation proceedings, covering breach of contract, match fixing and employment matters. During 2018, Mark Hovell, who is regarded as 'one of the best British sports lawyers', was appointed by CAS to arbitrate the high-profile dispute between AC Milan and UEFA relating to the Italian team's financial fair play ban. The team has further expertise advising on image rights deals, player transfers, GDPR compliance and reputation management. Julian Moore joined as head of the practice in 2018 from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):Mark Hovell; Carol Couse

Other key lawyers:Julian Moore

Testimonials

"The sports team always seems to link in well with other teams across the firm, drawing on knowledge and expertise from the whole firm." 

"The sports team at Mills & Reeve are customer focused and deliver high quality work at a reasonable cost." 

"Mark Hovell is one of the best British sports lawyers I know." 

"Richard Santy is proactive in client relationship management, always scanning the horizon for upcoming issues that may affect the industry." 

Key Clients

Professional Footballers’ Association

The Rangers Football Club

The Court of Arbitration for Sport

Rugby Players’ Association

England Kabaddi Federation UK

British Cycling

Huddersfield Town FC

England Golf

Luton Town FC

Genting

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended footballer Bradley Wood against a match fixing charge against him brought by the FA, managing to reduce a proposed lifetime ban to a six-year ban from the sport.
  • Acting for Rangers Football Club Limited in ongoing litigation with Sports Direct, arising out of a dispute in relation to the agreement under which Sports Direct had a licence to sell Rangers replica kit and other merchandise.
  • Mark Hovell was appointed by the CAS as an arbitrator in the case between AC Milan and UEFA relating to the team's ban from the Europa League Cup Competition after violating financial fair play regulations.
  • Advised the Saudi Professional League in reviewing and redrafting its Financial Fair Play regulations.

Payne Hicks Beach's clients are primarily drawn from the areas of sailing, equine, football, boxing and health,with practice head Jonathan Gatward's expertise covering a broad range of areas, including copyright, distribution, product promotion and general corporate work. Partner Hanna Basha and associate Nick Grant both specialise in sensitive disputes, usually concerning privacy, data protection, breach of confidence, defamation or harassment. In a recent highlight they represented boxing promoter Frank Warren in his successful claim against boxer Ricky Burns and his manager Alex Morrison.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Gatward

Other key lawyers:Hanna Basha; Nick Grant

Testimonials

'We have always received excellent service from Payne Hicks Beach.'

'All of the partners are fantastic.'

Key Clients

Everton FC

Frank Bruno

Don King

SPAG Sauerland Promotions AG

Hayemaker Boxing Promotions Ltd

Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation

DNAFit Limited

IIAA Limited

Dean Leeds

Revolution Marketing

Pineapple Dance Studios

OC Sport Limited

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

SSM Worldwide Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Frank Bruno in relation to his phone hacking claim against News Group Newspapers Limited for information published in both The Sun and The News of the World.
  • Acted for Avi Lasarow, a long-standing client, on the sale of his majority shareholding in DNAFit Life Sciences Limited to Prenetics Limited.
  • Acting for the EMCT in respect of a range of matters, including sponsorship agreements with well known sailing related brands.

Following the merger of Penningtons Manches and Thomas Cooper, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP can draw on a newly combined international sports group, which acts for footballers, managers and Formula One clients across a broad sweep of areas. Work covered includes disciplinary proceedings, employment disputes and civil law claims relating to misconduct, libel and professional negligence, among other areas. On the non-contentious side, the group advises on the immigration status of athletes, acquisitions for stadium developments and GDPR compliance. Nick Humphreys is very active in the High Court and Employment Tribunals, where he handles litigation for managers, coaches, backroom staff and executives in the football industry, while employment specialist Andrew Haywood is known for giving internal advice to clubs in relation to player and manager acquisitions and exits.

Practice head(s):Andrew Haywood; Nick Humphreys; James Severn

Testimonials

"Pennington Manches Cooper's sports practice has an impressive international network enabling them to deal with the complicated cross-jurisdictional world in which elite athletes operate. The service of its team is client focused and performance driven."

"Very strong as sports disputes, especially those in an international context."

"Nick Humphreys is very strong at the employment and sports overlap."

"James Severn's ability to cut through issues and find the key point is clinical and a key asset to his clients. His practical approach ensures that money spent is well spent." 

Russell-Cooke LLP acts for broadcasters, football clubs, governing bodies, charities and individuals, handling both contentious and non-contentious matters. On the contentious side, work includes acting for broadcasters in IP infringement cases, representing football clubs in employment disputes and advising on disciplinary proceedings. In the non-contentious space, matters relate to privacy, reputation management, data protection and incorporation, including establishing charitable vehicles. Solicitor advocate Matthew Bosworth, who specialises in professional disciplinary matters and intellectual property rights, is retained by Chelsea FC and Tottenham FC to provide ongoing advice in relation to privacy, on-field issues and reputation management.

Practice head(s):Matthew Bosworth

Other key lawyers:Peter Cadman

Testimonials

'Highly professional partners and associates, outstanding response times.'

'A vastly experienced firm, assisting sportsmen, clubs, sporting bodies and officials across the gamut of sports from athletics to wrestling and with everything in between.'

'They are a rare firm to successfully combine experience of regulatory matters for sports with unrivalled experience of criminal law - they are the go-to firm for a number of Premier League clubs.'

'Responsive, frank advice.'

'Peter Cadman is calm, robust and fearless. Brilliant with the media even when refusing to speak to them!'

'Matt Bosworth has been our preferred choice for many years. Experienced in doping, regulatory breaches and crime in sport.'

Key Clients

Sky UK PLC

Chelsea FC

Tottenham Hotspur FC

British Fencing

AMRAC/Turf TV – 2012

Surbiton Hockey Club

Sonny Webster

Roehampton Club

Work highlights

  • Acting in Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, County Court, Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court matters to protect Sky’s IP rights in relation to sports broadcasting/live sports broadcasts within the UK.

  • Instructed on an ongoing basis to represent Chelsea FC officials and players in numerous matters throughout the year, including privacy and reputation management issues.
  • Advising British Fencing generally and especially with regard to issues of safety.
  • Acting in Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court matters to protect AMRAC’s IP rights in relation to broadcasting/live sports broadcasts of horse racing via the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Russells Solicitors' sports group predominantly handles disputes, employment matters and reputation management issues for boxers, boxing promoters, managers, agencies and athletes. Litigation specialist Steven Tregear handles contractual disputes for sports and event management clients and acts for individual sportspeople in defamation and privacy cases, whereas Ryan Vince advises agencies and individuals on corporate and commercial contracts. In a recent highlight Tregear advised Hatton Promotions in a dispute over the terms of a promotion agreement and acted for the client in negotiations with a Russian promoter for a contest involving one of the client's boxers, which involved the drafting of anti-doping clauses.

Practice head(s):Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:Ryan Vince

Testimonials

"Russells are passionate about their work and really care about their clients." 

"John Reid and Elizabeth Scandrett are excellent. They have a wonderful personal touch and are great communicators." 

Key Clients

England and Wales Cricket Board

Surrey County Cricket Club

Linford Christie OBE / Nuff Respect

Frank Warren / Queensbury Promotions

Mark Sampson

Hatton Promotions Limited/Ricky Hatton

Wasserman Media Group

Unique Sports Management

ISM Management

Nigel Levine

Work highlights

  • Representing boxing promoter, Frank Warren, in High Court proceedings against his former lawyers, Hill Dickinson, among other issues
  • Representing Mark Sampson, former coach of the England Women’s football team, in bringing an employment tribunal case against his former employers.
  • Advising boxing promoter and trainer Ricky Hatton on the co-promotion of an event at The O2, featuring a headline bout between Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne.
  • Advising Hatton Promotions on a range of matters, including a dispute over the terms of a promotion agreement and negotiations with a Russian promoter for a contest involving one of the client’s boxers.

Burges Salmon LLP's sports group has a niche in representing clients in the betting, horseracing and sailing sectors, advising on contractual and commercial aspects of deals, employment matters, joint ventures and designing and implementing new technology. The team also handles sponsorship deals on behalf of private companies and provides advice to governing bodies and clubs on contractual, structural and funding matters.  IP partner Jeremy Dickerson specialises in sponsorship, merchandising, litigation and anti-doping.

Practice head(s):Jeremy Dickerson

Testimonials

'Customer service - very good at responding quickly. Customer support - will put us in the best possible negotiating position. Customer knowledge - working with us for many years builds up knowledge which informs the advice they give us.'

Key Clients

The Racecourse Association

Bristol City Football Club

Unicorn Products Limited

Gunn & Moore

Racecourse Technical Services Limited

Britbet Racing LLP

Artemis Technologies Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Racecourse Technical Services Limited on its appointment by Arena Racing Company to provide HD coverage and integrity services at all ARC horseracing fixtures.
  • Advised Artemis Technologies Limited on a variety of arrangements and deals to establish its operations, and develop, monetise, and exploit its cutting edge technology in the field of competitive sailing.
  • Advised long-standing client, The Racecourse Association, on the establishment of the Racing Authority, a tripartite structure between The Racecourse Association, British Horseracing Authority and The Horseman’s Group.

Hill Dickinson LLP's sports group are particularly well known for their commercial and regulatory disputes work for clients including football clubs, sportspeople and media agencies. The team's growing commercial sports arm spans sponsorship deals, supply agreements, hospitality agreements, IP and brand licensing. Consultant Louise Millington-Roberts specialises in advising governing bodies, clubs, event hosts, sponsors and athletes on global rights and brand management issues and has specific expertise in the area of ticketing. Partner Geraldine Ryan focuses predominantly on dispute resolution and reputation management for clients such as footballers.

Practice head(s):Geraldine Ryan; Louise Millington-Roberts; Sue Russell

Key Clients

Triple S Sports & Entertainment Group Limited

GB Taekwondo

Lancashire County Cricket Club Limited

The Dallaglio Foundation

Blackpool Rovers Football Club

Work highlights

  • Advised Blackburn Rovers FC on its recent football kit sponsorship deal with overseas gaming company 10 Bet.
  • Providing commercial and legal advice to Lancashire Country Cricket Club's CEO and management team, including negotiating and drafting agreements for sale and supply of hospitality, kit and clothing, technical support, sponsorship and supply and worldwide tour operations.
  • Acting for a football agent in defending claims for breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy.

At Keystone Law, equine expert Rachel Flynn has a niche in advising horseracing clients on the full range of contentious and non-contentious matters, including employment issues and acquisitions. Paul Daniels and Nick Tsatsas, who joined the firm in 2018, also have employment expertise, advising clubs and sportspeople on dismissals, discrimination, whistleblowing and contract disputes. In the commercial space the team also advises individuals and private companies on IP, copyright and sponsorship matters.

Other key lawyers:Rachel Flynn; Paul Daniels; Nick Tsatsas

Key Clients

FFP Trading Limited

McDonald's Restaurants Limited

British Gliding Association

Sam Rush

Peter Davies

Thoroughbred Breeders' Association

British European Breeders’ Federation

Hascombe Stud

Work highlights

  • Acted for Sam Rush, the former chief executive of Derby County FC, in bringing proceedings for breach of contract in the High Court for compensation of £6m, for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal and defending counterclaims for over £7m based on alleged breach of fiduciary duty and misconduct.
  • Advised McDonald's on the drafting and settling of sponsorship agreements for the four Home Nations football associations.
  • Acted for Peter Davies, who claimed to be the copyright owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club's distinctive angular wolf’s head logo.
  • Advising the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association on a wide variety of legal enquiries on behalf of its 3,000 members.
  • Acted for a high profile major Newmarket based stud owner in relation to employment law advice.

Kingsley Napley LLP's sports team acts for football and Formula 1 clients, handling a high volume of disputes, often involving alleged breach of contract, and privacy related matters, in addition to advising in safeguarding cases. More broadly the team has expertise on commercial contracts and immigration in relation to player transfers, recently advising a sporting league on how work permits will change if the UK leaves the EU. Practice head Sue Thackeray specialises in dispute resolution and represents a number of high profile F1 drivers in a full-service capacity.

Practice head(s):Sue Thackeray

Other key lawyers:Claire Parry; Ryan Mowatt

Testimonials

'Good judgment, experience, client care.'

'The firm has particular expertise in sports litigation which embraces the media and telecoms issues in the sector.'

'The team is able to call on individuals with a level of practical as well as legal experience so that they can cut through the legal issues to the commercial and practical matters that often resolve sporting disputes.'

'Outstanding case preparation. Client-focused at all times, tenacious and with excellent judgement.'

'Sue Thackeray is incredibly well-connected in motor sport and is able to cast a practical eye on disputes where many lawyers cannot. She is able to change gear from litigator to negotiator in an instant.'

'Ryan Mowatt has extensive experience in football related litigation, including joint venture disputes, shareholder claims and transfer disputes.'

'Claire Parry is an outstanding litigator. Experienced, sound judgement, strong client care, very thorough, excellent legal analysis.'

'Sarah Harris has skills honed as an exceptional advocate at the Bar which give her a huge advantage in her tactical approach to cases. She understands what it takes to win and delivers every time.'

Key Clients

Rebecca Vardy

Brandon Staples

Rangers Football Club

Work highlights

  • Advised on privacy issues for Premier League footballer Jamie Vardy's wife Rebecca Vardy.
  • Advised on anti-doping matter for Premiership rugby union player.
  • Acting for Rangers FC in long-running litigation with Sports Direct.
  • Advised on privacy, data protection issues and international disputes for F1 driver.

Norton Rose Fulbright's global platform hands the London team an edge over smaller domestic firms on cross-border and global matters, and the firm's team primarily focuses on international transactions, disputes and regulatory work with a UK aspect. The team is led by corporate specialist Stephen Rigby, who has built a niche area of specialism in advising overseas investors into UK football clubs. He works alongside Jonathan Ball, who manages all IP and litigation matters for key client McLaren Racing, and corporate finance specialist Claire O’Donnell.

Practice head(s):Stephen Rigby

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Ball; Claire O’Donnell

Key Clients

McLaren

Envision Virgin Racing

British Racing Drivers Club Limited

Crusaders Cricket Australia Inc.

Southampton FC

Harlequins

London Development Agency

Iconix Brand Group

Sportsworld Media Group Plc

Société Générale

Royal Bank of Canada

Work highlights

  • Advised McLaren Group on the £203.8m investment from Canadian businessman, Michael Latifi.
  • Advising Virgin Racing, one of the leading Formula E teams, in relation to car supply matters including Formula E sporting and technical regulations.
  • Advised BRDC (the owners of the Silverstone Circuit and estate) in relation to the development of Aston Martin research and development centre at Silverstone.
  • Advised McLaren Racing on its international portfolio of trademarks.
  • Advised Crusaders Cricket Australia on enhancing and expanding its  brand protection into the UK.

Stephenson Harwood's sports practice stands out for its work handling insolvencies for football and motor sports clubs that often involve contentious elements, such as acting for the liquidators of RPC PLC (formerly Rangers FC) in their defence of an £18m ongoing secured claim by former owner of the club, Craig Whyte. The group's broader practice covers disputes and litigation spanning sponsorship, alleged impropriety, IP infringement, misuse of funds, unjust enrichment and fraud. Practice head Ben Sigler recently advised a sovereign wealth fund in relation to bribery allegations concerning the hosting of a major sporting event.

Practice head(s):Ben Sigler

Other key lawyers:Ben Sigler

Testimonials

"Stephenson Harwood are a superb private client firm who we have used for many years for a variety of instructions. We think their real qualities lie in their partners and the engagement of their partners with day to day matters."

"Ben Sigler is a first rate solicitor. Diligent and friendly."

"Stephenson Harwood's sports group have great attention to detail and provide an excellent service." 

Key Clients

RFC 2012 PLC 9 (formerly Rangers FC)

Mark Ford, Finbarr O'Connell and Gilbert Lemon of Smith & Williamson

Paul Cooper and David Rubin

Legacy Community Foundation

Paul Appleton and Paul Cooper of David Rubin and Partners Ltd

United States of America

Stella International Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Defending the liquidators of RFC 2012 (formerly Rangers FC) against a £20m claim brought by Ticketus regarding its ticket purchase agreement.
  • Acting for Boris Becker's Trustees in Bankruptcy in identifying, collecting in and realising Boris Becker's assets for the benefit of his creditors.
  • Advising the joint receivers on the shares and assets of Blackpool Football Club (Properties) Limited.
  • Assisting the trustees of the Legacy Sports and Education Foundation on its compliance with charity law obligations.
  • Advising sports apparel designer and manufacturer Stella International Holdings on commercial arrangements regarding its operations in the Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia.

Winston & Strawn LLP's sports team acts for the British Athletes Commission (BAC) and associated athletes and governing bodies in a wide range of mandates that includes defending misconduct allegations, investigating duty of care issues, carrying out selection policy reviews, and representing individuals in anti-doping claims levied against them by regulators. Peter Crowther represents athletes and the BAC in relation to complaints and investigations concerning athlete welfare, performance development, funding, doping and athlete agreements.

Practice head(s):Peter Crowther

Other key lawyers:Lisa Hatfield

Key Clients

Professional Football Club CSKA-Sofia JSC

Substantial shareholder in Swansea City Football Club

British Athletes Commission

Work highlights

  • Representing Bulgarian football club CSKA Sofia in an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
  • Providing ongoing legal advice to the British Athletes Commission in relation to various issues affecting the elite-level athletes represented by the BAC including high-profile duty of care in sport issues, selection issues, doping allegations, and communications with NGBs and UK Sport.

Led by practice head Richard Lane, Wright Hassall LLP's sports group advises numerous Olympic national governing bodies on competition discipline, disciplinary proceedings and sports regulation, including child protection, doping, copyright  and constructive dismissal claims. The team also engage in advocacy on behalf of sportspeople and clubs before the CAS. Senior associate Nathan Talbott advises footballers and agents on player contracts and compliance requirements, and runs the SportsPeople Think Tank, an organisation set up to tackle social and cultural issues faced by current and ex-sportspeople.

Practice head(s):Richard Lane

Other key lawyers:Nathan Talbott

Key Clients

British Showjumping

British Dressage

Archery GB

Premier Sports Holdings plc

Joint Measurement Board

Bowls Development Alliance

English Schools’ Football Association

Southam Rugby Union Football Club

Wasps RFC

Old Leamingtonians RFC

Work highlights

  • Advised Old Leamingtonians Rugby Football Club Limited on an extensive suite of contract documentation.
  • Advising British Dressage and British Showjumping on an independent review commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England on behalf of the British Equestrian Federation into an alleged breakdown in the relationship between BEF and British Dressage and British Showjumping, arising out of allegations made by the former CEO of BEF.

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