Firms To Watch: Sport

The private client and sports team at Bray & Krais, Solicitors is led by Udo Onwere, a former professional footballer whose clubs included Fulham and Blackpool. The firm advises high-profile individuals including former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and Chelsea's Reece James on sponsorship, sporting endorsement and commercial deals.

Sport in London

Bird & Bird LLP

Bird & Bird LLP’s dedicated sports group handles the full breadth of work in the sector, encompassing contentious and regulatory issues as well as non-contentious sports matters. The practice acts for international federations, national governing bodies, integrity units, event organisers, public agencies, broadcasters, sponsors and agencies across professional sports. Practice head Jonathan Taylor KC advises on a wide range of issues for sports-based clients, including commercial disputes, investigations and challenges to regulatory decisions. Max Duthie is instructed on discipline and anti-doping, ticketing, brand protection, player contracts, sponsorship and dispute resolution matters, while Craig Giles specialises in media rights. Andy Danson focuses on commercial agreements, with specific expertise in the gambling sector. From a transactional perspective, Robert Turner and Joss Hargrave are the key names to note, with the latter offering considerable experience in the sports finance sphere. Richard Bush and Lauren Pagé support clients across regulatory and contentious sporting issues. Associates Will Deller and Emma Drake are further vital team members.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Taylor KC

Other key lawyers:

Max Duthie; Craig Giles; Andy Danson; Robert Turner; Joss Hargrave; Richard Bush; Lauren Pagé; Will Deller; Emma Drake


‘The legal advice, guidance and support that was provided by the Sports Team at Bird & Bird on what was a time pressured and highly sensitive case was excellent.’

‘Richard Bush inherited a most difficult brief and was not only able to quickly grasp the key elements, but was able to deconstruct the issues and build a strategy to achieve a positive resolution for all sides. Consequently he has become our organisations ‘go to’ solicitor!’

‘Robert Turner’s combination of excellent commercial knowledge of the sector, legal and inter-personal skills helped us close a complex transaction in short order. Would highly recommend.’

‘Bird & Bird continue to be at the very top table of legal advisors in the sport space.’

‘The breadth and depth of knowledge and experience, the quality of their written advice, legal briefs and advocation make Bird & Bird’s sports practice unique.’

‘Jonathan Taylor is peerless in his field. He is a microcosm of the broader practice, in that his knowledge and experience allow him to turn his hand to a huge range of sports law issues.’

‘Craig Giles has excellent industry knowledge and is great to work with. Will Deller is a leading associate with great knowledge of new technologies such as NFTs.’

‘Lauren Page has developed significant experience and expertise of the highest standard across a range of subjects.’

Key clients

World Athletics

Six Nations Rugby

The British & Irish Lions

The English Football League

The International Paralympic Committee


Formula E

1/ST (Stronach)

International Tennis Federation

The Football Association

Work highlights

  • Defended decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport for World Athletics not to permit double amputee sprinter Blake Leeper and single amputee long-jumper Markus Rehm compete in the same classification as  other athletes. In both cases this was based on detailed expert evidence that the carbon fibre prostheses used provide an artificial advantage over other athletes.
  • Advised Six Nations Rugby Limited on the private equity investment by CVC.
  • Advised the British & Irish Lions on all aspects of their tour to South Africa.

Northridge Law LLP

Sports boutique Northridge Law LLP acts for a wide variety of clients in the sector, including athletes, clubs and governing bodies. Commercial litigator Jonathan Ellis leads the team, with clients including the FA. Co-head Ian Lynam offers expertise in financial regulation, data, M&A, rules and regulations, sponsorship agreements, transfers, player contracts and image rights. Jon Walters is recommended for dealing with governance, corporate investment and acquisitions, and commercial rights deals. Other integral members within the practice include James Eighteen and Paul Shapiro, with the latter focusing on sporting commercial and regulatory issues, such as sponsorship, merchandising, and image rights structures. Beyond partner level, managing associate Oliver Harland specialises in litigation and contentious regulatory matters for sports governing bodies. Fellow managing associates Mike Herbert and George Willis add to the depth of the firm’s offering.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Ellis; Ian Lynam

Other key lawyers:

Jon Walters; Jamees Eighteen; Paul Shapiro; Oliver Harland; Mike Herbert; George Willis


‘Northridge is unique in that it is a reletaively new specialist firm concentrating on sports law, giving it unsurpassed knowledge in the sector, but it also has the size, strength in depth, and experience to allow it to deal smoothly and efficiently with major cases involving not only sports law but also related issues.’

‘James Eighteen combines both the regulatory and commercial sides but has recently had a great deal of experience and honed his skills in a number of complex and testing sports disciplinary actions and related challenges to the validity of the rules.’

‘Oliver Harland’s advice and general legal work is of an extremely high standard.’

‘In simple terms they have a team who are immersed in the business of sport and understand the legal implications of sport contracts and disputes. Their depth and breadth of knowledge and experience is unparalleled in the world of sports law.’

‘Ian Lynam is the the sports law guru.’

‘Jonathan Ellis is without doubt now the leading individual for football related regulatory disputes.’

‘Jon Walters gives practical advice even when working on complex matters, and brings a wealth of industry experience.

‘Mike Herbert is impressive from a corporate finance perspective.

Key clients

Chelsea FC

The Football Association (The FA)

Premiership Rugby (PRL)


The British Horseracing Authority (BHA)

Raheem Sterling

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU)


Two Circles

Watford FC

Work highlights

  • Acted as the lead counsel on the sale of Chelsea FC.
  • Acted for Spotify on a “first of its kind” sponsorship agreement with FC Barcelona.
  • Advised on several aspects of the launch of LIV Golf Investments, an entity aiming to transform the game of golf.

Onside Law LLP

Onside Law LLP, a specialist sports law firm, handles critical matters for football clubs, governing bodies and athletes. Oliver Hunt retains expertise in golf and football, with a focus on image rights. Chris Walsh acts across a broad spectrum of sports-based contentious and commercial work, notably leading the England and Wales Cricket Board’s legal team on the investigation and prosecution arising from Azeem Rafiq’s racism allegations. Jamie Singer provides advice across commercial, intellectual property, governance and regulatory sports matters, in particular on match fixing cases. Adam Leadercramer supprts sports rights holders on general commercial contract, sponsorship and media-related issues. Simon Thorp is adept at handling corporate work for sports-based clients, while Sophie Wilkinson deals with data protection cases. Commercial litigator Stevie Loughrey is particularly active in rugby, football, golf and Formula One. Ben Hanglin and Leon Farr were promoted to the partnership in 2022. Legal directors James Hill, Ross Brown and Harriet Leach are further notable members of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Hunt; Chris Walsh; Jamie Singer; Simon Thorp; Adam Leadercramer; Stevie Loughrey; Sophie Wilkinson; Ben Hanglin; Leon Farr

Other key lawyers:

James Hill; Ross Brown; Harriet Leach

Key clients

England and Wales Cricket Board

World Rugby

England Netball


World Snooker


Heart of Midlothian FC

Leeds United

AC Milan

Red Bull Racing



International Tennis Integrity Agency

West Ham United FC

British Horseracing Authority

Two Circles

BWT (Formula 1 sponsor)

Sky Sports

EPCR (European Rugby)

World Sailing

Work highlights

  • Approached by Altrad, perhaps the most active brand globally in rugby, to help them win a competitive tender to replace AIG as the shirt sponsor for the All Blacks Rugby team.
  • Handled all of AC Milan’s commercial agreements, including all sponsorship and media rights arrangements.
  • Instructed as the sole and lead lawyers for the ECB on the investigation and prosecution of all charges which arise out of the allegations of race discrimination and bullying raised by Azeem Rafiq, as well as the similar processes being undertaken in relation to other county cricket clubs.

Centrefield LLP

Centrefield LLP advises clients across a broad range of legal issues, including contractual, disciplinary (including doping), immigration, employment, sponsorship, image rights, commercial, corporate, defamation and criminal law. The Manchester-based specialist sports and media law practice is recommended for its work in football, specifically regarding transactions and regulatory issues; this includes transfers, player contracts, intermediary arrangements and disciplinary issues. Practice head Matthew Bennett focuses on player transfers, disciplinary cases and in the resolution of disputes at an international level. The practice is also overseen by Edward Canty, who advises on key governance issues relating to football and David Bentham, a specialist in the commercial aspects of sport. Stuart Baird completes the leadership quartet, offering expertise in immigration-related matters. Senior associate Oliver Sadler adds to the team’s strength in depth, acting on sports-based commercial issues.

Practice head(s):

Edward Canty; David Bentham; Matthew Bennett; Stuart Baird

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Sadler


‘All personnel have been excellent and have a very proactive commercial approach.’

‘A unique sports team, specialising in the sports industry with strengths in equal measure across the commercial and regulatory sports sectors,’

‘Great industry knowledge as well as highly skilled lawyers.’

‘Centrefield’s knowledge across the sporting landscape marks them out as specialists in the field, as does their ability to apply commercial common sense to complex and sensitive legal situations. You know that you aren’t just in receipt of legal advice but your circumstances as a client will be central to their strategic and tactical advice. What becomes apparent when you work with Centrefield is that they really work as a team and that combination of expertise and knowledge across sport means that you know you are in good hands. They aren’t afraid to call in external expertise when needed and that is a strength.’

‘David Bentham is simply super reliable. Advice is provided in a timely and efficient manner and it is always on point. He is a go-to adviser for unravelling complex sports issues.’

‘Knowledgeable, both from a legal and commercial perspective. Very good experience. Responsive and easy to deal with. Good value (especially when compared to London firms).’

‘Exceptional experience – most of the time they will already have dealt with the issue you have instructed them on for another client.’

‘You can an always rely on them to meet timelines, regardless of how short.’

Key clients

Manchester United Football Club

Manchester City Football Club

Liverpool Football Club

The Professional Footballers’ Association

The Rugby Players’ Association

Super League

Major League Soccer

Leicester Tigers

Antonio Conte

CJ Ujah

The England Rugby Union Squad Entity

Work highlights

  • Advised various football clubs, players and intermediaries on a significant number of transfers and player contracts (including on transfers worth in excess of £500m in the summer 2021 transfer window alone).
  • Advised the British sprinter, CJ Ujah in respect of an adverse analytical finding following an anti-doping test at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after Team GB won the silver medal in the men’s 4 x 100 metre relay.
  • Advised Super League on its international broadcasting rights distribution agreement and its ground-breaking, first ever “free to air” broadcasting deal with Channel 4.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is instructed by broad range of sports clients, including governing bodies, clubs and athletes, across contentious and non-contentious issues. The practice offers specific expertise in sports integrity, rights and marketing, and technology. Jason Saiban heads the sport, retail and technology team, specialising in sponsorship, merchandising, advertising and marketing, and event management. Co-head Nic Couchman has advised Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford on a range of commercial matters. Jody MacDonald is the final member of the management trio and oversees the firm’s sports tech sector group. Edward Craig specialises in equine matters, while Satish Khandke handles corporate sports law issues. Nick White dedicates his services to sports-related blockchain and web 3.0 work. Senior associate Richard Davies advises on sports-tech related sponsorship, media rights and arrangements, while fellow associate Danielle Sharkey acts for governing bodies on contentious, regulatory and integrity issues.

Practice head(s):

Jason Saiban; Jody MacDonald; Nic Couchman

Other key lawyers:

Satish Khadnke; Nick White; Richard Davies; Danielle Sharkey


‘Good longstanding relations with various individuals, in particular Edward Craig.’

‘Excellent sports commercial knowledge, especially data and betting related, and broadcast. The team keeps abreast of issues related to our organisation, and is always able to pick things up quickly and run with them.’

‘Richard Davies is a superb senior associate – technically skilled, commercially minded, understands the operational aspects and well organised and able to deliver to our required timings.’

‘Jody MacDonald is excellent in sports data rights and associated integrity issues, and other sports commercial rights matters.’

‘I was impressed with Jody MacDonald’s responsiveness, commercial thinking and pragmatism.’

Key clients

Nike (Nike European Operations Netherlands BV)

The International Tennis Federation (ITF)

International Cricket Council (ICC)

Marcus Rashford

Ascot Racecourse

The Ocean Race


CSM Sport and Entertainment

NEP Group

Premiership Rugby

Work highlights

  • Advised on Nike’s kit supply and sponsorship deal with Liverpool FC.
  • Advised Premiership Rugby on a first-of-its-kind technology and marketing partnership with Ticketmaster Sport.
  • Advised the ICC in relation to various media contracts and rights negotiations relating to the ICC’s commercialisation programme.


Level operates a non-traditional structure, providing its senior specialist lawyers with a platform through which they run their own individual practices. The firm’s client roster features high-profile footballers, national and international federations, teams, agencies and broadcasters in the sports sector. Morris Bentata is recommended for his work in sports media and data. Daniel Lowen and Liz Coley offer expertise in the UK football industry. Dan Harrington advises on the acquisition and sale of domestic and international sports rights, whereas Fraser Reid primarily focuses on contractual matters and athletes’ commercial activities. Tim Lowles is well-regarded for his contentious sports practice . Rowena Samarasinhe  is another key name within the department, while family specialist Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui is another recent addition to the team.

Other key lawyers:

Morris Bentata; Daniel Lowen; Dan Harrington; Fraser Reid; Tim Lowles; Liz Coley; Rowena Samarasinhe


‘Level  are approachable yet professional, all of their team members go out of their way to be available to meet the needs of our business.’

‘Daniel Lowen has an exceptionally high degree of knowledge, experience and industry expertise, yet is always personable and very pleasant to deal with.’

‘Morris Bentata is exceptional. He is responsive, pragmatic and brilliant at working to a tight timeframe.’

‘I have followed Sofia Moussaoui from her previous firm; my loyalty has been to her and particularly because he is so devoted to her clients. Available 24/7. and always with a calming and reassuring influence.’

‘Sofia Moussaoui is an exceptional family laywer who provides an excellent service for clients going through the trama of hotly contested family proceedings. Not only does she fight for her clients in  litigation, she is always there for them day and night to discuss their issues.’

‘Sofia Moussaoui was exceptionally helpful and crucial on the success of my case. She went above and beyond fighting a much bigger and ferocious team of lawyers on the other side.’

‘Sofia Moussaoui is tough, pragmatic and evidently cares. She adopts a methodical, thoughtful and kind approach, which is also clear and strategic. She is instantly likeable, which is important, as most likely you’ll be speaking to her a lot. She will fight your corner, but, in a negotiation she clearly looks at what is in your best interest.’

‘Sofia Moussaoui’s experience is unrivalled. Clients place trust in her ability and tactics, both which never fail to disappoint. She’s cool under pressure and is able to look beyond the immediate problem when preparing a client for the long road ahead.’

‘Sofia Moussaoui is a strong leader and excellent litigator.’

Key clients


Pitch International

Atalanta Media

RDA Television

Asian Football Confederation (AFC)

Interregional Sports Group Ltd (ISG)

Work highlights

  • Advised DAZN on all its major projects. Particular projects include working on its acquisition of exclusive global rights to the UEFA Women’s Champions League and its global distribution partnership for the UEFA Women’s Champions League with YouTube. This deal provides an unprecedented platform to bring the best of women’s football to a global audience for the first time.
  • Advised on 130 player transfers, loans and new contracts during the 2021 summer transfer window, including Emile Smith-Rowe’s new contract at Arsenal, Takehiro Tomiyasu’s transfer to Arsenal, Maxwel Cornet’s move to Burnley, Leon Bailey’s and Emiliano Buendia’s moves to Aston Villa, Will Hughes’ move to Crystal Palace and many more transactions which were widely reported in the press.
  • Advised AFC on all commercial legal matters, including a multi-billion dollar agency agreement, sponsorship agreements, media rights agreements and disputes with various parties including several high-value international arbitrations.

Lewis Silkin

Lewis Silkin provides a one-stop shop of advice for sporting clients, including clubs, athletes, coaches, federations, agents, investors and sports businesses. Particular areas of focus include football player transfers, recruitment of football managers and coaching staff, sports immigration and IP matters. Practice head Alex Kelham advises on a wide-range of sports sponsorship, events, media and other commercial deals. Co-head Jonathan Carr operates from the Oxford office, handling employment issues for sports-sector clients. Andrew Osborne and newly promoted partner Stephen O’Flaherty are both renowned for dealing with sports immigration matters. Senior associate John Shea is a further key individual within the team.

Practice head(s):

Alex Kelham; Jonathan Carr

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Osbourne; Stephen O’Flaherty; John Shea


‘John Shea been a great external adviser who has become an extension of our in house team.’

‘Lewis Silkin are one of the leading City solicitors with a stellar offering and reputation in sports law..’

‘Alex Kelham is a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist and now a titan in sports law.’

‘John Shea is very strong in football and rugby disputes, especially those with a commercial or regulatory angle.’

‘John Shea is the driving force of the football practice, having great knowledge of contractual and regulatory matters, remarkable business acumen about the football industry and an extensive network with clubs, agents and peer lawyers.’

Key clients

The Arsenal Football Club

Rugby Football Union

Chelsea Football Club Limited

Raphael Varane

CAA Base Limited

Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club Ltd

Recast Sports Limited

Northampton Rugby Football Club Limited

Queen’s Park Rangers

Steve Cooper

Ange Postecoglou

Ascot Racecourse Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised French international footballer Raphael Varane in connection with his transfer from Real Madrid to Manchester United.
  • Provided Recast Sports Ltd with a wide range of advice over the past 12 months, including trade mark, data protection, tax and corporate advice.
  • Advised Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club in connection with various high-profile incoming and outgoing transfers during the 2021 summer transfer window and also acted for the club in a dispute with Malaga FC before FIFA’s Players Status Committee and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Morgan Sports Law

Morgan Sports Law, a specialist sports arbitration and litigation law firm, offers expertise in anti-doping as well as rugby, equestrian and football disputes. Managing partner Mike Morgan focuses his attention on anti-doping matters. Co-head Richard Martin leads the innovation team and unique science unit; the latter advises on science-heavy doping disputes and acts for individuals and sports organisations in relation to the scientific elements of non-contentious anti-doping matters. William Sternheimer completes the leadership trio, primarily dealing with football disputes. Senior associate Donna Bartley is another vital cog within the practice.

Practice head(s):

Mike Morgan; Richard Martin; William Sternheimer

Other key lawyers:

Donna Bartley


‘Mike Morgan is at the top of his game and there is no-one better than him.’

‘Mike Morgan is top of the league in doping cases. He has a 360-degree vision of a case and will not leave a stone unturned.’

‘Morgan Sports Law is one of the leading sports law firms around the globe. They have in-depth knowledge of the sports industry with a particular expertise in anti-doping and disciplinary matters.’

‘The individuals at Morgan Sports Law are – without exception – experts in the sports law industry. They are litigation all-stars and communicate with clients in a comprehensive manner.’

‘William Sternheimer has he incredible ability to read people and to figure out fast the best approach to take when making his points.’

‘Morgan Sports Law has outstanding litigation experience, in particular before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. They are definitely one of the “go-to” firms for sports law.’

‘Mike Morgan is a leader in sports law.’

‘Donna Bartley is a fantastic team player, knowledgeable and hardworking. A real asset to any case.’

Key clients

Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (“FIFPRO”)

Dalian Professional Football Club (Chinese Super League)

Saracens (Premiership Rugby Club)

Sale Sharks (Premiership Rugby Club)

German Table Tennis Federation

The Women’s Rugby Association

Pacific Rugby Players Welfare C.I.C.

Doncaster Knights Rugby Football Club (RFU Championship)

Dayana Yastremska (professional tennis player)

Sergey Shubenkov (Former World and European 110m hurdles champion)

Annemiek van Vleuten (World Champion cyclist)

Rúben Ribeiro (Portuguese professional footballer)

Peter Charles (2012 Olympic Champion)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Dayana Yastremska (professional tennis player from Ukraine) in anti-doping proceedings, as a result of which she was cleared of wrongdoing.
  • Acted for Sergey Shubenkov (Russian 110m hurdler, former world and European Champion) in anti-doping proceedings, as a result of which he was cleared of wrongdoing.
  • Acted for FIFPRO in defending and enforcing the rights of football players in disputes heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP advises football clubs, sporting governing bodies and sponsors across a variety of matters. Global head of sport Trevor Watkins acts for a number of high-profile clients including Premier League football clubs and World Athletics. Manchester-based Julian Diaz-Rainey focuses on sporting disciplinary cases, specifically within football. Samantha Livesey also operates from the Manchester branch, handling technology and commercial contract matters for sports sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Trevor Watkins

Other key lawyers:

Julian Diaz-Rainey; Samantha Livesey


‘Tonnes of experience, both in London and Manchester.’

‘Trevor Watkins is hugely experienced, full of energy – a great rainmaker and good with clients.’

‘Unparalleled connections on the investor-side particularly in the football space. Very strong relationships across the market more broadly as evidenced by the strong client base.’

‘Trevor Watkins is a constant source of stellar buyside opportunities via a black-book of contacts to die for.’

‘Julian Diaz-Rainey has strong relationships and is a very trusted advisor.’

‘The sports practice at Pinsent Masons is hugely knowledgeable about the sports sector and this adds real value to the deals they are working on.’

‘Trevor Watkins must know everyone in the business and is very responsive.’

Key clients

Manchester City FC


World Athletics

The Jockey Club / Jockey Club Racecourses Limited (“JCR”)

Derby County (in administration)

Fulham FC

Blackburn Rovers FC

10Ten Talent Limited

Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 Organising Committee / Unboxed Festival

Liverpool FC

Work highlights

  • Advised Manchester City Football Club in regard to a major inquiry.
  • Advised on major transfers for 10Ten Talent Limited.
  • Advised World Athletics on a wide selection of commercial, intellectual property and media contracts.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs is best known for handling corporate, contentious and regulatory, commercial, IP, and employment matters for sports clients globally. The team operates closely with the media, new media and gaming team. Practice head Stephen Sampson primarily handles contentious and regulatory work, with extensive experience appearing before sports tribunals and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Warren Phelops advises clients on a variety of sports-related issues, including content ownership and exploitation, event staging and broadcast/media matters. Associate Dr Katie Smith acts for clubs, governing bodies, media companies, athletes and agents.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Sampson

Other key lawyers:

Warren Phelops; Mike Llewellyn; Stuart McInnes; David Hull; Katie Smith


‘Innovative and willing to think outside the box to find the right solution.’

‘Stephen Sampson is one if the most experience solicitors in sport. He has excellent judgement and gives 100% to his clients.’

‘Katie Smith is a brilliant associate in the team.’

‘Exceptional experience – Stephen Sampson. You can rely on Stephen doing a first class job (and you know he will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the instruction is given the attention it requires and is completed on time).’

‘Good at building relationships (and this means they are on the front foot in knowing what issues you are likely to be facing). Very good industry knowledge – one of the leading firms when assessing experience and breadth of matters they have worked on. Commercially pragmatic.’

Key clients

AIA Company Limited

Alpine Racing Limited

Arena Racing Limited

Blackburn Rovers FC

Chelsea FC

Creative Artists Agency LLC

Fosun Sports Group

Fulham Football Club

The International Tennis Federation

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation

Mesut Özil

FC Nantes

Project 11 Limited

Sheffield Wednesday Football Club



West Bromwich Albion Football Club

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club

The World Academy of Sport

World Sailing

Work highlights

  • Advised Alpine Racing Limited on a range of matters throughout the year including the virtual launch of its 2021 F1 car; appointment of a professional e-sports team; appointment of various sponsors and partners; driving and marketing services agreement with Esteban Ocon and Mercedes Benz; agreement with Fernando Alonso in relation to the production of a limited edition Alpine A110 car and other driver arrangements for the 2022 season.
  • Defended the international sailing authority World Sailing, in two consecutive antitrust investigations, first by the Italian Antitrust Authority, and subsequently, by the European Commission. Both antitrust authorities have dropped their allegations for abuse of dominance in relation to the selection of sailing equipment for the Olympic Games of 2024 before the European Commission.
  • Acted as co-counsel with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to Sport Republic in respect of the acquisition of Southampton Football Club and related shareholder arrangements.

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP’s client base includes governing bodies, elite sports clubs and high-profile individuals. The Manchester-based multi-disciplinary team incorporates lawyers with expertise in regulatory, governance, funding, immigration and employment, commercial and reputation management issues, among others. Practice head Lydia Edgar, also head of the Manchester employment and pensions team, is recognised for handling high-profile appointments and exits in the sports industry. Jason Smith specialises in sporting commercial rights, while legal director Andrew McGregor and senior associate Catherine Forshaw focus on football-related matters. IP lead Colin Bell and head of litigation Paul Lunt add to the practice’s strength in depth.

Practice head(s):

Lydia Edgar

Other key lawyers:

Jason Smith; Andrew McGregor; Catherine Forshaw; Colin Bell; Paul Lunt


‘Brabners have a  great depth of expertise and understanding of the sport.’

‘Lydia Edgar is an expert in her in field and has a great understanding of the challenges faced in the sport sector.’

‘Andrew McGregor has a  real in-depth knowledge of football law.’

‘Lydia Edgar focuses in the overlap between sporting and employment law issues.’

‘Lydia Edgar has excellent sport specific safeguarding knowledge which is invaluable.’

‘Lydia Edgar is one of the best solicitors around involved in safeguarding within sport.’

Key clients

The English Football League (EFL)

England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB)

Liverpool Football Club

Leicester City Football Club

Manchester United Foundation

British Canoeing

British Judo

W Series – Women’s Motor Sport

Birmingham City Football Club

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club

Bolton Wanderers Football Club

Wigan Athletic Football Club

Preston North End Football Club

Swindon Town Football Club

Cornwall RLFC (formerly Ottawa Aces)

Lawn Tennis Association

Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group

Wasserman Media Group

PM Sport Management Limited

Michael Vaughan OBE (former England cricketer)

Manchester Sale Rugby Club Ltd (Sale Sharks RFU)

Midas Sports Management

British Basketball Federation

Basketball England

British Swimming

Commonwealth Games Federation

Ben Stokes

Wigan Rugby League Club Limited

Coleen Rooney

Everton Football Club Women Limited

Professional Golfers Association (“PGA”)

Work highlights

  • Advised on the acquisition of Wigan Athletic Football Club out of administration.
  • Advised British Swimming on issues relating to the participation of transgender and intersex athletes in sport.
  • Supported the development of Everton Football Club’s new £500m stadium at the listed Bramley-Moore Dock, with the project set to generate £1.3bn for the local economy and create more than 15,000 jobs. The firm acts as sole legal adviser on the wider development.

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP handles high-stakes disputes, finance and corporate matters for sports-sector clients; this includes Premier League football clubs, governing bodies, broadcasters as well as other stakeholders. Chris Yates oversees the practice, recommended for dealing with reputationally significant litigation and crisis management issues. Co-head and senior associate James Cranston, specialises in anti-doping. Tim Lewis  and Jennifer Chimanga, a dual qualified lawyer in England and Wales and Kenya, support clients across commercial and corporate sports matters; Lewis has recently been serving as a non-executive director of Arsenal Football Club.

Practice head(s):

Chris Yates; James Cranston

Other key lawyers:

Tim Lewis; Jennifer Chimanga


‘Chris Yates is the perfect sports lawyer.’

‘James Cranston is one of the best senior associates I’ve ever come across – a total superstar.’

‘Chris Yates and James Cranston have sound litigation judgement.’

‘The team with whom we deal on sports issues are innovative, proactive and always able to find practical solutions to seemingly complex problems which serve to meet the interests of all parties concerned.’

‘Unusual for a major international firm to have such a strong and comprehensive commitment to its sports practice.’

‘James Cranston and Chris Yates are the two key individuals. Both fantastic lawyers.’

‘The partners we have interacted with are extraordinary intellectuals who are fully engaged and hands-on about all the assignments they undertake for us and the entire team is brilliant to work with in terms of their hard work, professionalism and responsiveness. We can always rely on their support.’

Key clients

Liverpool FC

Arsenal Football Club

International Paralympic Committee

E Stanley Kroenke and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

Manchester City Football Club

City Football Group

World Rugby

Epic Games

Pakistan Cricket Board

Invictus Games Foundation

Southampton Football Club

Valeri Belokon (former President of Blackpool Football Club)

VB Football Assets


Centre for Sport and Human Rights

Sport Resolutions anti-doping panel

Work highlights

  • Represented Manchester City Football Club in proceedings against the Premier League arising from a Premier League investigation into compliance with its rules. Also advised Manchester City Football Club on crypto related matter such as the issuance of a fan token and its issuance of a non-fungible token commemorating their Premier League victory.
  • Advised the Invictus Games Foundation on the arrangements for the IGF’s 2021 Hague Games, renegotiating the Host Union Agreement of the 2023 games due to the pandemic and on their broadcasting and sponsorship agreements, for example their Netflix deal.
  • Acted for Epic Games in a claim brought in the Competition Appeals Tribunal against Apple Inc. in relation to a developer programme license agreement and Apple’s decision to remove the popular Fortnite game from the App Store after Epic introduced a direct payment option into the Fortnite App.


CMS provides support across a variety of sports sector matters, with particular areas of focus including sports media rights, IP, corporate and finance, competition and disputes. Practice head David Zeffman is recommended for handling the launch of television channels and the sale of media rights within the sports space. John Enser advises broadcasters and rights holders on complex issues involving media exploitation. IP lawyer Tom Scourfield and newly promoted Scotland-based partner Neeraj Thomas are further key individuals within the practice. John Cloke  joined from DLA Piper in September 2022.

Practice head(s):

David Zeffman

Other key lawyers:

John Enser; Tom Scourfield; Neeraj Thomas; John Cloke


‘The team at CMS is always responsive and apply their knowledge of the sector to any advice that they give. They are very good at spotting trends and providing useful insight.’

‘Neeraj Thomas has a lot of experience of the sector and can apply that in a sensible way when giving advice on specific matters.’


Key clients

1890s holdings a.s

British Olympic Association

British Telecommunications (BT Sport)

Chelmsford City Racecourse

DAZN Limited

Endeavor IMG

England and Wales Cricket Board

International Cricket Council

Liverpool Football Club


PCP Capital Partners

Royal Panda Limited

Scottish Football Association

Sports Information Services Limited (SIS)

Spreadex Limited

Television Event and Media Marketing AG (TEAM)

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (Wimbledon)

Unilever Group

Union Des Associations Européennes De Football (UEFA)

Work highlights

  • Advised Union Des Associations Européennes De Football (UEFA) on its anti-privacy work, including an ongoing role in obtaining and maintaining ‘live’ blocking injunctions to prevent internet users from accessing particular targeted servers which are streaming illegal transmissions of UEFA games.
  • Acted for Sports Information Services Limited (SIS) in The Racing Partnership Ltd & Ors v Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd & Ors, a complex case relating to the creation and provision of horseracing betting odds and other data relating to horseraces.
  • Instructed by the Scottish Football Association in relation to all disciplinary and regulatory matters.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper handles UK and international media rights work on behalf of rights holders and broadcasters, with notable clients including the Premier League. The practice is also recommended for its work on commercial partnership rights and brand ambassador arrangements. Practice head Nick Fitzpatrick offers considerable experience in dealing with major sporting events, exploitation of media rights, sponsorship, sports administration, copyright, gambling and advertising issues. John Wilks focuses his attention on IP issues within sport. Senior associate Samuel Churney is another key name to note. Former partner John Cloke  joined CMS in September 2022.

Practice head(s):

Nick Fitzpatrick

Other key lawyers:

John Wilks; Samuel Churney; Ruth Hoy


‘A reliable and expert team, knowledgeable on all sport aspects from financing to regulation.’

‘Ruth Hoy is an excellent team leader and always keeps her client’s needs at the forefront.’

‘A leader in the field of sports law.’

Key clients

European League

The Football Association Premier League

Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

Football DataCo Limited


National Basketball Association (“NBA”)

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Premier League on a wide range of transactions and issues in 2021/2, including successfully obtaining summary judgment for circa USD213 million against PPLive Sports International Ltd; the sale of audio-visual rights in the UK and international markets; its sponsorship programme; exploitation of an anthem; COVID-19 compliance at clubs; ticketing and ground regulations at stadiums; and IP enforcement work.

Farrer & Co

Farrer & Co is instructed on governance, integrity and safeguarding issues in sport. The practice is home to a unique safeguarding unit, which acts for a range of national and international sporting institutions. Practice head Julian Pike advises on corporate and reputation management strategy as well as disputes for sports sector clients. Henry Sainty specialises in commercial contracts and data protection. David Hunt and Katie Fudakowski represent sports governing bodies on the full-range of employment and equality related matters. Tom Bruce is noted for handling corporate, governance issues, critical joint ventures and the structuring of international sporting events. Paul Jones and Owen O’Rorke are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Julian Pike

Other key lawyers:

David Hunt; Henry Sainty; David Hunt; Katie Fudakowski; Tom Bruce; Paul Jones; Owens O’Rorke; Kate Allass; Tom Rudkin


‘In the context of sports law, Farrer & Co is the firm that has been longest in the sector and it has built up a wealth of experience and knowledge enabling it to deliver practical and effective administration of matters on behalf of clients, in particular sports governing bodies.’

‘Julian Pike is one of the UK’s leading reputation management lawyers.’

‘Tom Rudkin is an excellent litigator and adviser, with a brilliant client manner, and a sense of what will be important in any dispute. He is calm, assured, and expert – always thinking ahead of the client’s strategic imperatives.

‘Julian Pike is truly excellent and charming with clients as well as being v bright.’

‘Farrer & Co have a long history of working in sports and therefore have a depth of knowledge in many different areas’

‘Julian Pike is excellent in all aspects of sport, particularly with issues around reputational management.’

Key clients

PGA European Tour

The FA

International Canoe Federation

Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)

World Netball

Martin Glenn

British Swimming

UK Athletics

Henley Royal Regatta

Work highlights

  • Advised Martin Glenn, former CEO of the Football Association on defamation and harassment proceedings in the High Court against a former employee of Fulham Football Club, Craig Kline.
  • Advised the LTA’s safeguarding and legal team in relation to complex safeguarding matters and the management of live cases, involving regulatory, criminal, DBS compliance and data protection issues.
  • Worked with UK Athletics (UKA) to draft fundamental amendments to its constitutional documents including its articles of sssociation, athletics appointments panel terms of reference, and election regulations.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s sports practice centres on sports marketing and technology, regulatory work, reputation management and player representation. Practice head Bob Mitchell has significant experience advising sports-based clients on both commercial and regulatory issues. Michael Lister has a particular focus on athlete contracts, sponsorship and endorsement agreements, and event staging arrangements. Dalton Odendaal supports clients in relation to hosting and staging sports events. Beyond partnership level, senior associates Sam Purkiss and Mike Jones bolster the sport department’s offering.

Practice head(s):

Bob Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Michael Lister; Dalton Odendaal; Sam Purkiss; Mike Jones


‘A strong team led by the excellent Bob Mitchell. .’

‘Bob Mitchell is exceptionally knowledgeable, particularly in cricket.’

‘Sam Purkiss is always reliable and a safe pair of hands.’

‘A very strong team with a diverse nature led by a superb leader in Bob Mitchell who has a history of developing good lawyers who go on to senior roles across the sports industry.’

Key clients

Romelu Lukaku

Team England Player Partnership (England Cricketers)

Nissan e.dams

HBA Media


Kindred Concepts

Origin Sports

Raphael Varane


Mongraal (Kyle Jackson)

Volkswagen AG

Ollie Robinson


Verbal Solutions

Cricket West Indies

Kai Havertz

MatchFit Sports PR Ltd


Electronic Arts Inc


Work highlights

  • Advised on the £97.5m transfer of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan to Chelsea FC.
  • Advised Kindred Concepts on its launch of a new immersive social entertainment venue concept incorporating Formula 1 racing simulators.
  • Advised Cricket West Indies on multiple sponsorship deals and commercial rights agreements.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP's team 'have an in-depth knowledge of the sports sector and a reputation for quality' - the practice advises on arbitration and litigation, commercial rights, acting for a client base which includes several high-profile football players and domestic governing bodies. Practice head Mark Hovell fronts the team alongside Carol Couse, with latter specialising in the football industry, including handling transfers, playing contracts and disciplinary issues. The duo split their time between Manchester and London, while Richard Santy, who also works from the firm's Birmingham base, deals with employment issues within the sports sector. London practice head Julian Moore is recommended for his work in relation to sports media, sponsorship and image rights deals, often collaborating with Australian-qualified principal associate Tiran Gunawardena. Fellow prinicipal associate Phil Hutchinson, who splits his time between Birmingham and Manchester, has developed a niche advising on international player transfers for professional football clubs and agents.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hovell; Carol Couse

Other key lawyers:

Richard Santy; Julian Moore; Tiran Gunawardena; Phil Hutchinson


‘Specialist sports lawyers with an unrivaled reputation.’

‘Mark Hovell is an esteemed arbitrator.’

‘Carol Couse is particularly knowledgeable in football matters.’

‘Phil Hutchinson and Tiran Gunawardena are excellent  associates.’

‘Mills & Reeve’s sports team has provided invaluable support to our organisation across a range of issues. They have an in-depth knowledge of the sports sector and a reputation for quality within the industry.’

‘Julian Moore’ quality of work thas been exceptional, with several clients commenting on the quality of the agreements.’

‘Associate Phil Hutchinson has a great ability to be deliberate and clear in his advise relating to issues and enquires associated to the governance of elite level sport here in the UK.’

‘Mills & Reeve have huge knowledge, experience and expertise in elite sports law issues.’

Key clients

Professional Footballers Association

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing

Lukas Nmecha and Felix Nmecha


Podium Analytics

Super League

Mr Kim Andersen (former President of World Sailing)

Kieran Trippier

British horse racecourses

British Cycling

England Golf

Rangers Football Club

Crown Football Limited (Football Agency)

Watford AFC

Work highlights

  • Represented the PFA in challenging the imposition of the cap through an ad hoc arbitration process.
  • Represented England international and Atlético Madrid footballer Kieran Trippier in defending betting related charges issued by The Football Association (FA).
  • Represented former World Sailing President, Kim Andersen, in defending an ethics related complaint before the World Sailing Ethics Commission.

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP  represents a range of national sports governing bodies, including the FA, Sport England, England Athletics, parkrun Global and Parkour UK. The Newcastle-based practice retains expertise in club structures, tax status, complex facilities projects and regulatory matters. The team overseen by John Devine also handles a broad range of work for football clubs and players, including contractual matters, transfer dealings, image rights, agency issues and disciplinary hearings. Tony McPhillips offers experience in dealing with professional player and manager contracts.

Practice head(s):

John Devine

Other key lawyers:

Tony McPhillips


‘Every person we’ve worked with has gone out of their way to get to know us, to understand our needs, and to propose the most suitable way forward. John Devine is great!’

‘The main strength of the practice to us is the fact that their culture appears to be people driven. They understand and cater for our individual needs both as an organisation and myself as a leader. They provide efficient, effective and clear guidance. Most importantly they understand sport.’

‘Over the years we have worked with Muckle LLP I have never had a poor customer experience with any of the individuals with whom I have worked with. They are personable, knowledgeable and professional. However most importantly they appear to care. Whether this is about me or my organisation I have never felt isolated or made to feel that my question was uneducated or that my problem was onerous. This culture comes from the management and senior staff and cascades throughout the organisation and its employees.’

‘Muckle have spent a huge amount of time getting to know and understand us and our business. That really helps when addressing the many complex challenges that we face together.’

‘Muckle have a really strong sector knowledge. Their advice represents exceptional value for money. Advice is always extremely well thought out, considered and tailored to client needs. This provides a lot of faith in the advice provided.’

‘Tony McPhillips is a seriously experienced lawyer and very reliable. You know that his advice will be very carefully considered and tailored to client needs. He clearly knows employment law inside out but can also apply it to the sports sector because of his knowledge of that sector. As a client, you know you are receiving advice you can absolutely trust.’

‘John Devine is extremely approachable and very flexible on billing. Key capabilities include the charity sector and particularly governance related matters in sport and football. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the firm for that.’

‘John Devine has been in and around the football industry for well over a decade and is known the length and breadth of the country for his great manner, his experience and his ability to deal with all manner of charities work, governance work and corporate work in the football sector.’

Key clients

The Football Association

England Athletics

parkrun Global

The Caribbean Premier League

Chelsea FC Foundation

The EFL Trust

The Premier League Charitable Fund

Sport England

Durham County Cricket Club

The Rugby Players’ Association

The Football Foundation

British Wheelchair Basketball

British Skydiving

English Ice Hockey Association

Work highlights

  • Advised CFG, owner of 10 professional football clubs worldwide including Manchester City FC, over the past two years on the global implementation and roll out of its “Cityzens Giving for Recovery” programme campaign in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Advised The Football Association (The FA), providing a legal support service to 7,500 Charter Standard Clubs and 51 County FAs nationally and, from concept to realisation, on the ground-breaking £200M national charitable Hubs Programme (formerly the ‘Parklife’ facilities project), now managed by The Football Foundation.
  • Retained sole legal adviser to Caribbean Premier League (CPL), a major international televised annual club cricket competition, attracting the world’s best players.


RPC is recommended for its commercial and sports regulatory work, with clients including Premiership Rugby club Saracens. As well as handling sports retail matters for clients such as Sports Direct, the team is instructed by technology and social media businesses on sports and esports-related commercial and data issues. Practice head Jeremy Drew offers expertise in sports retail, licensing, sponsorship deals, disputes, regulatory issues and gaming. Associate lead for the sports group Josh Charalambous is a sports disputes, commercial and regulatory specialist.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Drew

Other key lawyers:

Josh Charalambous; Michelle Sloane; Oliver Bray; Joseph Akwaboa; Samuel Coppard


‘RPC have a truly exceptional profile in sports related disputes and matters, with particular experience in football.’

‘Josh Charalambous is one to watch.’

‘Joshua Charalambous is good to deal with, approachable lawyer with sound commercial and legal advice..’

‘RPC has unrivaled bench strength, vintage and a pedigree in this field.’

‘Jeremy Drew is class act. He fully understands the topics and issues.’

‘The team is extremely strong. They have an excellent understanding of litigation, good judgment and deep sector knowledge.’

‘ Josh Charalambous has deep sector knowledge and exceptional judgment.’

Key clients

Saracens RFC

Sport England

Newcastle United FC



Sports Direct


Mike Ashley

MEGA Esports


England Lacrosse



Game Digital

Mavericks Netball

Square Mile Sports

Work highlights

  • Appointed as the sole legal services provider to leading Premiership Rugby club Saracens, advising on a range of commercial and regulatory matters.
  • Successfully represented Sports Direct in various hearings before the Court of Appeal and High Court in the longstanding dispute with Rangers FC relating to football replica.
  • Represented the owner of Newcastle United FC in relation to the Competition Appeal Tribunal proceedings against the English Premier League.

Walker Morris LLP

Walker Morris LLP handles the full gamut of work for football clubs from sponsorship deals, commercial partnerships and transfer agreements through to real estate, arbitration and sports disciplinary hearings. The Leeds-based firm is also recognised for its work on football club acquisitions, with practice head David Hinchcliffe particular recommened within this area. Beyond partner level, the team is supported by associates Charlotte Smith and Christian Slinger; while the former handles employment litigation for football clubs, the latter focuses on M&A within football. Fellow associate India Seaton specialises predominantly in sports disputes. Former senior associate Katie Reed left to join Tottenham Hotspur as head of legal in early 2021.

Practice head(s):

David Hinchliffe

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Smith; Christian Slinger; India Seaton


‘The sports team at Walker Morris are easily one of the best, most experienced and all rounded I have come across.’

‘David Hinchliffe has an unrivalled knowledge of, and connections with, the football industry. He has advised on many high profile take overs and often carts for premier league and championship clubs.’

‘Hugely experienced team that know the sports sector backwards.’

‘David Hinchliffe is a legend in the sports world.’

‘India Seaton is a brilliant associate.’

‘Excellent on sale and purchase of football clubs.’

Key clients

Swansea City FC

Fulham FC

Burnley FC

Crystal Palace FC

AFC Bournemouth

Swindon Town FC

Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Nottingham Forest FC

Sheffield United FC

Wrexham AFC

York City Knights


Work highlights

  • Advised Burnley Football Club’s Chairman, Michael Garlick on the club’s sale to US private equity firm, ALK Capital.
  • Advised AFC Bournemouth in concluding the contract for their head coach Scott Parker.
  • Advised Australian businessman, Clint Goodchild, on the acquisition of Rugby League Championship side York City Knights.

Armstrong Teasdale

US firm Armstrong Teasdale, which took over London practice Kerman & Co in early 2021, focuses its sports practice on laws relating to ticketing, including developing legislation targeting ticket touting, and sports sponsorship. The team also handles IP, technology and event management issues for sports-based clients. Practice head Zane Shihab provides commercial advice to global sporting brands, international sporting bodies and events and high-profile individuals. James Thorndyke has considerable experience acting on regulatory and disciplinary issues. Highly experienced consultant Nick Bitel focuses on rights protection, endorsement licensing, merchandising agreements, as well as structures and strategy for sports rights holders.

Practice head(s):

Zane Shihab

Other key lawyers:

James Thorndyke; Nick Bitel


‘Outstanding team with experience across the sports spectrum, including ticketing work.’

‘James Thorndyke is a stand-out partner.’

‘The team have specialist expertise in sport and are familiar with large sporting organisations and the various types of advice which relate to this sector.’

Key clients

Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA)

All England Lawn Tennis Club (Championships) Limited (Wimbledon)

London Marathon Events Limited

Rugby Football Union (RFU)

Chelsea Football Club

London & Surrey Cycling Partnership (known as RideLondon)

World Marathon Majors

Racehorse Owners Association

W Series

Pit Stop Brand Consultancy

Miss World

Horsemen Limited

Truvis Limited

Kabuni Ventures Limited

Azam Media Limited

One Football GmbH Y

Joymo AS (live stream technology)

Citizen Ticket

Work highlights

  • Acted as UEFA’s central law firm in Europe on the ticketing/operational side, advising UEFA from aU.K. perspective and coordinating lawyers in jurisdictions throughout Europe to ensure that Euro 2020 was staged successfully.
  • Advised AELTC on the ticketing/operational side of the event with respect to the cancellation of The Championships 2020 and the staging of The Championships in 2021, to ensure that The Championships were staged, despite all of the challenges.
  • Advised the Rugby Football Union in connection with multiple breaches of their ticketing terms and conditions, including a successful application to the High Court for an injunction to stop certain individuals from continuing to unlawfully deal in the RFU’s tickets to matches taking place at Twickenham Stadium.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is commended for its work in relation to sports financing, litigation and arbitration. The practice also advises on sports commercial agreements, player transfers and changes to the FIFA and FA regulations. Graham Shear - 'one of the best sports lawyers around' - leads the team; he is known for dealing with players rights, third party financing and a broad spectrum of sports-related disputes. Marc Trottier handles financing deals within the sports sector. Marcus Pearl and senior associate Andrew Street are further key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Graham Shear

Other key lawyers:

Marc Trottier; Marcus Pearl; Andrew Street; Sarah McAtominey


‘Excellent sports law team’

‘Graham Shear is one of the most experienced solicitors acting in sport, with an unparalleled knowledge of the commercial/financial side of football.’

‘Andrew Street and Sarah McAtominey are both exceptional’

‘Graham Shear – one of the best sports lawyers around.’

‘Graham Shear is top notch, committed and hugely experienced.’

‘Graham Shear and Andrew Street are the best lawyers I have worked with in any field.’

Key clients

Rights & Media Funding Limited

Ingesport UK Ltd

The FA

Work highlights

  • Advised Rights & Media Funding Limited as the sole lender of €67 million to 11 La Liga football clubs, in one of the largest transactions in European football.
  • Advised Ingesport UK Ltd in relation to its expansion into the UK. Ingesport is the sports centre management leader in Spain and Portugal, having conceived and developed GO fit, a chain of sports centres that operates under an administrative concession regime on public property.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s multi-disciplinary team handles a range of work within the sports arena, including employment and contractual issues, sports stadium matters, dispute resolution, corporate finance and licensing advice. The team is spread across the firm’s London, Bristol and Manchester offices. Practice head Jan Levinson offers expertise in sports injuries. Tim Ryan handles licensing, sponsorship, merchandising, hospitality and data advisory issues for clients throughout the sports sector. Associate Richard Rowe defends employers and public liability claims within motorsport, football and rugby.

Practice head(s):

Jan Levinson

Other key lawyers:

Tim Ryan; Richard Rowe


‘A team with a growing following nationally and with expertise across a wide variety of sports .’

‘Richard Rowe is a rising star in the field with specialist expertise in motorsports. Q quiet, calm but very accomplished litigator’

‘Particularly strong in motorsport cases.’

‘Richard Rowe is an expert in the field of motorsport.’

‘This is an outstanding team which draws on years of experience in a niche field. When it comes to sports injury claims, they are able to say with straight face that they have been there and done it.’

‘Jan Levinson and the team are bold innovators, unflappable and tenacious.’

‘Highly regarded in the field of sports law for their skill, experience and sporting acumen.’

‘Richard Rowe provided some excellent groundwork assistance on the case, a friendly and helpful individual with an unrivalled attention to detail.’

Key clients

Manchester United

Joshua Murray (ex-Manchester City FC)

Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Allianz Global Corporates Solutions (Bluefin Sport Brokers) – Motorsport UK

Bluefin Sport Brokers – Insurers – Liberty Mutual – The EFL

Zurich and its insured bowls club

Sport Ireland

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (“IHRB”)

Fladgate LLP

Fladgate LLP’s practice spans a wide range of sports including motor racing, cricket, football, golf and cycling. The team supports clients on intellectual property, sponsorship, broadcasting and web rights, fundraising, events, and regulatory issues. The practice also acts for funders and investors in the sports industry on financing transactions. James Earl oversees the team and is ably supported by associate Joshua Bennett.

Practice head(s):

James Earl

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Bennett


‘James Earl’s sport sector knowledge should be noted.’

‘The Fladgate team has been a great support in terms of advice and work that we needed from them.’

‘Joshua Bennett is an amazing person and incredible hard worker.’

‘Fladgate are easy to deal with, commercial and collaborative to get deals done. It is pretty rare to find a firm who takes that approach to transactions so it is always a very welcome experience to work with people like that.’

Key clients

All First Class County Cricket Clubs

Non-Category A First Class County Cricket Clubs

23 Capital

Scottish Professional Football League

Watford Football Club

Beyond The White Line

Guild Esports plc

Work highlights

  • Acted jointly on behalf of all First Class Counties in connection with all contractual matters relating to the launch of ‘The Hundred’, a professional franchise 100-ball cricket tournament involving eight men’s and eight women’s teams located in major cities across England and Wales. The tournament is run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and took place for the first time in July and August 2021.
  • Engaged to jointly act on behalf of all Non-Category A First Class Counties in relation to the terms of the women’s edition of ‘The Hundred’ cricket competition.
  • Advised 23 Capital in connection with finance and investment transactions within the football sector in the UK, Europe and globally. Most particularly, advised in connection with transfer receivable transactions – financing secured on transfer fees agreed between selling and buying clubs.

Fletcher Sports Law

Fletcher Sports Law is recommended for advising football agents players, managers and brands on both contentious and non-contentious matters; this includes player transfers, endorsement agreements, regulatory issues, contractual matters and dispute resolution. The Manchester-based firm has also developed its boxing practice, currently advising several well-known boxers including undisputed super light weight world champion Josh Taylor. Practice head Paul Fletcher is renowned for football-related matters, supported by associate Tom Grant.

Practice head(s):

Paul Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

Tom Grant


‘Paul Fletcher is one of the most knowledgeable and accessible solicitors working within the football industry’


Key clients

England Men’s Football Team

Mark Selby

Harry Kane (Spurs & England)

Josh Taylor


James Maddison

Milos Raonic

Ben Chilwell (Chelsea and England)

Ben White (Arsenal and England)

Phil ‘The Power” Taylor

Work highlights

  • Instructed by the players’ committee (a group of senior squad members) of the England Football Team to advise them (and the rest of the England squad) in relation to the restructuring of the way in which The FA is able to exploit the image rights of the players.
  • Retained by unified light-welterweight world champion Josh Taylor to advise in relation to a variety of contractual and media matters, including his bout agreements in relation to unified title defence against Jack Catterall.
  • Advised (and continues to advise) Tottenham and England captain, Harry Kane, on a number of high-profile endorsement agreements over the past 12 months,.

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins deals with a wide range of issues across the sports spectrum, including media rights, sponsorship, technology, events and private capital investment into sport. Practice head Patrick Mitchell handles commercial transactions, with particular expertise in media rights and sponsorship arrangements, the launch and expansion of media and digital services, sports technology, and establishing and monetising major international events. Ed Barnett handles sports sector M&A. Counsel Rachael Astin and associate Stewart Robinson are further key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Ed Barnett; Rachel Astin; Stewart Robinson

Key clients



Meta Platforms (Facebook)

Dapper Labs

Formula E

World Surf League

Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix

Saudi Arabian Football Federation


SilverLake Partners

CVC Capital

Genius Sports

MSD UK Holdings

Fortress Investment Group


Endeavor Group

888 Holdings

Goldman Sachs and HSBC

European Clubs Association

International Olympic Committee


Work highlights

  • Advised TeamViewer, a global technology company, on its five year agreement to become Manchester United’s new main shirt sponsor.
  • Advised Facebook/Meta in the negotiation of an international and innovative major sponsorship agreement with the Rugby World Cup France 2023.
  • Advised IMG, global leader in sports, events, media and fashion on its agreement to buy and operate the ATP and WTA Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament.


McCormicks handles matters for an array of sports-based clients, predominantly within the football industry. Practice head Peter McCormick was appointed interim chairman of the Premier League in January 2022 and continues to fulfill a number of other renowned governing roles across football. James Towler and Philip Edmondson also lead the Harrogate practice; while the former deals with corporate and commercial transactions in the sports space, the latter takes charge of litigation portfolios for sporting clients.

Practice head(s):

Peter McCormick; James Towler; Philip Edmondson


‘The team is very commercial and understands the dynamics and nature of the football industry.’

‘Peter McCormick has an outstanding understanding of the industry.’

‘Highly specialised and hugely experienced in sports law generally and football in particular. Very few firms in any sector can claim to be unique but Peter McCormick’s profile and reputation in football supports the claim for his firm. His ability to provide legal advice with a high level of strategic input makes his participation in our relationship of the utmost importance.’

‘Peter McCormick is ably supported on contentious matters by his litigation partner Phil Edmondson, who also specialises in sporting disputes. Both he and Peter are fully familiar with the detailed layers of regulation to which football clubs are subject, as well as the issues around enforcement of those regulations.’

Key clients

The Premier League

The Premier League Charitable Fund

Leeds United FC

The Bostik League (Isthmian League)

Professional Game Match Officials Ltd

Frank Boddy (Shoot Proprietor) and the Ripley Castle Shoot Group

Visit Harrogate (Peter McCormick was the inaugural Chairman)

Harrogate Town AFC

Walsall FC

McLaren Formula One

Otley RUFC

Leeds Rhinos RLFC

Robert Jones (Long Mountain Shoot and other shoots)

Liam Botham (son of Lord Ian Botham)

Norwich City FC

IDRS/The EFL (formerly the Football League

The Southern League

The Northern Premier League

Wycombe Wanderers FC

Lord Ian Botham

Work highlights

  • Advised the Premier League on multitude of issues.
  • Acted for Leeds United FC continuously since 1989.
  • Acted for the proprietors of 23 grouse, pheasant and/or partridge shoots, together with clay pigeon shooting grounds. In addition, acted Robert Jones T/A Long Mountain Shoot in relation to the three other legendary shoots which he runs in Wales – Three Valleys, Llechweddygarth and Llanforda.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP acts for an array of clients in relation to sporting disputes, regulatory issues and technology matters. Practice head Simon Leaf is recognised for handling broadcasting issues, image rights agreements, sponsorship arrangements, international transfers and other commercial contracts. Peter Nunn leads the sports disputes element of the practice, advising sports clubs, regulatory bodies, athletes and intermediaries on all forms of dispute resolution. Managing associate Tom Murray focuses on regulatory issues, including financial fair play and third-party ownership, sponsorship, image rights and disputes.

Practice head(s):

Simon Leaf

Other key lawyers:

Peter Nunn; Tom Murray


‘The sport team’s vast experience mean they know exactly how to deal with all of my queries and ensure that I am part of and understand each aspect of each matter.’

‘Simon Leaf  is deeply knowledgeable, incredibly patient and is able to cuts through issues to produce excellent results.’

‘Tom Murray produces outstanding work and is knowledgable beyond his years.’

‘Simon Leaf and Tom Murray are excellent sports lawyers with an enthusiasm and knowledge fo the sector that serves their clients very well.’

‘Dynamic, intelligent team of great professionals. Fun to work with and with their finger on the sporting pulse.’

‘Peter Nunn is exceptional.’

‘Simon Leaf knows sport rule books like the back of his hand and is able to explain changes to rules and regulations.’

‘Tom Murray is one of the most prominent, and best, associates in sport.’

Key clients

Bytedance UK Limited t/a TikTok


Multiple Formula 1 Drivers

Multiple Premier League and EFL Championship football players

8by8 Video Limited

Splash Tech

Women in Football

Jason Cunningham (Professional Boxer)


Work highlights

  • Advised, the leading provider of fan tokens, on a range of its most important and high-profile commercial, regulatory and employment-related matters.
  • Advised TikTok on a number of high-profile sports-related matters – including arising out of its recent sponsorship of Euro 2020 and 6 Nations.
  • Advised several fast growing sports technology businesses – including Splash Technology and Eterlast – on a range of IP, Corporate and Regulatory matters.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP’s full-service sports offering supports clients across football, including the League Managers Association, motorsports, athletics and esports. The practice also retains expertise in sailing and yacht races. Team head Andrew Haywood focuses on employment, eligibility, discrimination, business protection and disciplinary issues in sports. Richard Marshall has extensive experience in contentious sports-related matters, particularly regarding tax and fraud cases.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Haywood

Other key lawyers:

Richard Marshall; Jeremy Clarke-Williams; James Severn; Nick Humphrey; Oliver Cooke


‘Richard Marshall has excellent legal knowledge and adopts a commercial and pragmatic approach to disputes. Oliver Cooke is also a knowledgeable lawyer, hard-working and adopts a commercial approach to disputes.’

‘Really strong with their offering in sport, particularly employment, commercial and related regulatory/disciplinary disputes.’

‘James Severn is great at arbitrations in sport.’

‘Nick Humphrey has a niche specialism in manager disputes’.

‘Richard Marshall is a  specialist at high-value contract disputes in sport.’

‘Andrew Haywood is pre-eminent about employment disputes in sport.’

‘Richard Marshall is extremely experienced and a very good person to work with.’

Key clients

League Managers Association

Emma Raducanu

British Athletes Commission

Mahindra Racing UK Limited

Gordon Murray Group

Toca Football Group

Sports Resolutions

Katie McCabe (Arsenal and captain of the Republic of Ireland women’s national football team)

Carlos Ortiz-Patino (founders and previous owners of the Valderrama Group which owns the famous Valderrama golf course, Spain)


Work highlights

  • Instructed to represent the individuals that survived the plane crash, which carried the Brazilian football team Chapecoense, and the families and estates of those that did not.
  • Provided support to the British Athletics Commission by undertaking merits analyses of decisions involving elite international athletes as well as drafting contractual documents for the BAC.
  • Instructed to assist Emma Raducanu implement a global brand protection and enforcement programme across multiple continents.

Russells Solicitors

Russells Solicitors is well-regarded for representing individual sporting talent on private client, matrimonial employment, media work and litigation advice. The practice also advises sports clubs and management agencies, across boxing and football. Practice head Steven Tregear specialises in sports litigation; he is recognised for acting on claims and disputes concerning contractual and copyright-related matters, as well as defamation and privacy claims. John Reid is recommended for dealing with regulatory and disciplinary issues for governing bodies, organisations, clubs and personalities.

Practice head(s):

Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:

John Reid


‘Steven Tregear has developed a reputation as one of the leading solicitors in boxing, as well as having great experience in football and other sport/entertainment disputes.’

‘Russells is one of the leading names in sports.’

‘Steven Tregear is one of the old guard and a stand-out sports lawyer.’

Key clients

Frank Warren / Queensbury Promotions

Tyrannic LLC, for the services of Mike Tyson

Frank Lampard

Ian Wright

Mark Sampson

David Haye / Hayemaker Ltd

Modest! Golf Ltd

Lee McGregor and Chantelle Cameron

TaP Sports & Entertainment Limited

Steve Bould

Work highlights

  • Advised David Haye on negotiations for his comeback exhibition fight against Joe Fournier for the American video-sharing social networking service, Triller.
  • Advised talent management agency TaP on the establishment of a joint venture company, TaP Sports & Entertainment Ltd, – a sports agency and athlete management business, which can count among its initial clients Premiership club Leeds United and England international Kalvin Phillips.
  • Negotiated the terms of Steve Bould’s exit deal from Arsenal.

Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May‘s client base includes sports clubs, individuals, owners, leading governing bodies and corporate organisations. Key areas of focus for the multi-disciplinary team include sporting appointments, transfers, M&A, financing, governance, stadia related work, media rights, disputes and investigations. Corporate partner Mark Zerdin heads the practice alongside Andrew Jolly, who provides clients with specialist sports law, regulatory and governance advice, particularly within football.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Jolly; Mark Zerdin

Other key lawyers:

David Ives; Jane Edwarde; Richard Jeens


‘Richard Jeens is particularly knowledgeable in F1.’

‘Mark Zerdin is a principled lawyer with a remarkably creative mind, an impeccable attention to detail and tactical nous that has never proved wrong. He is a lawyer driven by his love for the game of football and his desire to ensure the fan’s place in that sport remains a central one.’

‘Andrew Jolly is very knowledgeable about the inner workings of top-level football clubs. Practical advice. Great communication.’

Key clients

Arsenal Football Club

Rugby Football Union


Everton Football Club

Fulham Football Club

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

A.S Roma S.P.A

Aston Villa Football Club

United States Ski and Snowboard Association

Marylebone Cricket Club

Cambridge University Boat Club

Boat Race Company Limited

Consortium comprising Michael Andretti and others

Relevent Sports Limited

Lendlease Construction Europe

Fastball Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised A.S. Roma and its owners, the Friedkin Family, on the appointment of José Mourinho as new head coach.
  • Advised Everton Football Club on the real estate, construction and financing aspects of the Club’s new, state-of-the-art stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, Liverpool.
  • Advised The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on the UK Live Events Reinsurance Scheme put in place by the U.K. Government in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

TSC Legal

TSC Legal, a boutique sports law practice, is recognised for handling matters relating to event planning, sponsorship and sports marketing, comerical regulatory matters, governance and integrity, and player data issues. The practice is supported by its intergrated marketing and consulting agency, The Sports Consultancy. Practice head Andy Korman is a sports marketing and sponsorship specialist, while associate Rob Jones offers niche expertise on event hosting agreements. David Becker is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Andy Korman

Other key lawyers:

Rob Jones; David Becker


‘TSC has deep experience across different markets and sports, which are extremely usefull when solving complex legal problems.’

‘Rob Jones is always willing to go the extra mile and was happy to help in legal topics that were out of the scope of the initial engagement.’

‘Andy Korman always provides great practical advice on legal and business matters, and is always available to answer a quick question.’

Key clients

The National Football League (NFL)

Oryx Energies

Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO)

International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD)

The World Padel Tour (WPT)

HDR Global (trading as BitMEX)

International Biathlon Union (IBU)


London Golf Club

Abu Dhabi Cricket

Work highlights

  • Drafted a template hosting agreement for the NFL using operational, legal and commercial provisions from similar events in the US owned by the NFL.
  • Worked on franchise agreements, event hosting agreements, rider areement and various commercial matters for start-up businees ‘esC’.
  • Negotiated deal for BitMEX to become AC Milan’s first-ever sleeve sponsor, a matter that showcased our position as go-to firm in complex international sponsorship advice.

Wiggin LLP

Wiggin LLP advises organisations, rights holders, broadcasters and platform aggregators on the acquistion and exploitation of audio-visual, data and media rights. The practice also deals with sponsorship arrangements, image rights deals and brand activations in the sports sector. Practice head Ross Sylvester specialises in commercial sports rights acquisition and exploitation across all consumer platforms and distribution models. Sarah MacDonald leads on sponsorship, advertising and marketing matters, while senior associate Sarah Drake works closely with media businesses in developing their sports content portfolios and consumer offerings.

Practice head(s):

Ross Sylvester

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Macdonald; Sarah Drake; Sean James; Josh Kay


‘Excellently placed and well connected in the sports world. Incredible industry knowledge. You want them on your side.’

‘Ross Sylvester knows the sports betting world in and out. He’s fabulous.’

‘Exceptional depth of understanding within the sector. Wiggin’s experience of the legal issues within sport mean that there is nothing they haven’t seen before and can give relevant advice accordingly at very short notice.

‘No other firm has such a key understanding of the unique commercial and emotional pull of sports which creates unique, and often illogical, decision making from rights holders.’

‘Ross Sylvester’s advice is nuanced and couched within the specificity of the sports sector where circumstances are often unique.’

‘The team has great industry knowledge and is able to provide top quality legal and related commercial advice with respect to the subject matter.’

‘Sarah Drake has great industry knowledge and is able to provide top quality legal and related commercial advice with respect to the subject matter.’

‘Josh Kay was brilliant to work with.’

Key clients

DAZN Group

Manchester United/MUTV

Racecourse Media Group

Premiership Rugby


FootballCo Media (operator of Goal Website (amongst others))

Stats Perform



Digital Sports Mgmt

Work highlights

  • Assisted DAZN with various high value media rights agreements to secure exclusive content for its global OTT service.
  • Advised on the renewal of Premiership Rugby’s domestic TV rights arrangements with BT Sport.
  • Advised Zee Network on aspects of its 10 year deal with the Emirates Cricket Board.


Clintons handles contractual arrangements, disputes, regulatory and disciplinary issues, brand protection and exploitation, and corporate matters for sports sector clients. Litigator Karim Bouzidi handles a variety of disputes in the sport sector.

Other key lawyers:

Karim Bouzidi


‘Karim Bouzidi has become the go-to solicitor for many football stars and sportsman, from regulatory cases to IP/reputation issues.’


Key clients

Association of Football Agents (UK) Limited

Nims Purja

The National League

Swimathon Foundation

Sportquake Limited

Didier Drogba Foundation

The Sports PR Company

Joey Barton (footballer)

Barnet Football Club


Dentons supports its sports-based clients across an array of matters, including the establishment of major events, setting up/reorganising leagues, M&A as well as financings and insolvencies. The practice is also recommended for dealing with sporting commercial agreements, litigation and stadium construction issues. Richard Barham leads the practice alongside Milton Keynes-based Nick Harrison.

Practice head(s):

Richard Barham; Nick Harrison

Key clients

St James Holdings (owner of Newcastle United)

Silverstone Circuits Limited

Saracens (Premier Team Promotions)

Scottish Cycling

Esports Awards Limited

Under Armour Inc.

Hibernian Football Club

Southend on Sea Borough Council

Club Brugge

Sigma Sports

Work highlights

  • Advised Mike Ashley’s St James Holdings Limited on the sale of Newcastle United (NUFC) to a joint venture involving the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers following settlement of NUFC’s arbitration against the English Premier League.
  • Advised Silverstone Circuits Limited in relation to staging of the 2021 Formula 1 British Grand Prix in July 2021 amidst the on-going Covid restrictions regarding large-scale events; bringing the event within the Event Research Programme’s requirements.
  • Advised Club Brugge, the leading football team in Belgium, in relation to its proposed IPO and listing on Euronext Brussels, prior to the transaction’s delay as a result of investor demand.

Hamlins LLP

Hamlins LLP is recommended for advising on the structuring and launch of new sports events, initiatives and formats. The firm’s cross-sport client base comprises governing bodies, sportspeople, sports agents, commercial organisations, ticketing companies and sports media businesses. Matthew Pryke leads the team, with considerable experience in sports events management, broadcast and promoter agreements, commercial arrangements, sponsorships, regulatory issues and player transfers.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Pryke


‘Hamlins are one of the most impressive legal practices I have ever come across. They work very quickly and efficiently, but also handle their clients with sensitivity. They provide fantastic legal advice, impeccably researched and always on point.’

‘The individuals I have worked with, particularly Matthew Pryke, have been utterly brilliant. One of the key qualities is explaining what can be difficult or complicated legal concepts for a layman in terms that they can understand, and really reassuring clients on the legal pathway ahead. That personal touch, combined with the exceptional level of work, makes Matthew in particular an outstanding lawyer.’

Key clients

Oracle Racing Inc.

SailGP GB Team

The English Cricket Board

General Sports Worldwide

Morecambe FC

Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO)

David Garrido / La Liga Lowdown

Youth Sports Trust


DLG Media Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for SailGP in its acquisition by Olympic gold medal and America’s Cup winner, Sir Ben Ainslie. Ben Ainslie, alongside businessman Chris Bake, has purchased a majority stake in the Great Britain SailGP team.
  • Worked Morecambe FC to structure the compensation arrangements with St Mirren FC for the departure of Steven Robinson and management team. This was immediately followed by the appointment of replacement Manager Derek Adam, in 24 hours.
  • Advised the most senior executives at the England & Wales Cricket Board on the structure of securing players rights via negotiations with player representatives and the PCA.

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Payne Hicks Beach LLP operates across a variety of sports, with a specific focus on boxing, cycling, sailing, equine, Formula 1 and football. Practice head Jonathan Gatward focuses on non-contentious matters, with expertise in sailing. Hanna Basha has developed a niche boxing practice, handling defamation, privacy, data protection, breach of confidence and crisis management issues. Senior associate Nick Grant is another key member of the team, specialising in reputation protection generally, including pre-publication and pre-broadcast advice.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Gatward

Other key lawyers:

Hanna Basha; Nick Grant; Maya Mills


‘A strong and established boutique firm in this sector, always involved in high profile cases.’

‘Hanna Basha is a highly experienced and knowledgeable partner in the field.;

‘Nick Grant is a star associate and one of the future leaders in the sector.’

‘Maya Mills is a strong and very hardworking associate with great experience.’

‘Hanna Basha is a leading expert in boxing disputes.’

Key clients

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Giles Scott

DNA Fit Life Sciences Limited

Pineapple Dance Studios

IIAA Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for boxer Dillian Whyte in the issuing of High Court proceedings in relation to the publication of private and confidential information on the Boxing Scene website.
  • Acted for IIAA Limited on the appointment of distributors to its international network for its advanced nutritional programme supplement range.
  • Acted for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in respect of a wide range of matters, including image rights, IP licensing and sponsorship agreements.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP acts for clients across the sporting landscape, including within football, cricket and rugby. Manchester-based Richard Millington oversees the team, focusing on cross-border joint ventures, outsourcing, IP exploitation sponsorship, distribution and agency arrangements. Associate Emily Soilleux operates from the London office and provides advice on sports transactions, sponsorship and agency agreements as well as broadcast rights.

Practice head(s):

Richard Millington

Other key lawyers:

Anastasia Fowle; Hamish Corner; Emily Soilleux

Key clients

City Football Group (Manchester City FC)

The Football Association

Oleksandr (Alex) Zinchenko

Federation of Sports and Play

Simon Corney

Hampshire County Cricket Club

Association of Sporting Directors

The Football Pools

ORG Secondary Opportunity Fund

Ashleigh Plumptre

Volkswagen Group

Molson Coors

E 1 Series

Peloton Yes

TRZ Training Yes


Work highlights

  • Advised Electric Sea Racing Limited on strategic partnership with The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia involving significant investment enabling it to launch the world’s first electric boat racing championship.
  • Provided strategic advice on various matters, ranging from use ofbiometric data, sporting rules and regulations, WADA matters, safety issues, commercial matters and issues affecting the drivers; working with the directors closely on various positioning papers, attendance at FIA Drivers’ Commission meetings and other communication with FIA, Liberty and others at the highest level.
  • Advised Alex Zinchenko on the set up of “Football for Ukraine”, a new charitable trust to help the humanitarian effort in Ukraine.

Simons Muirhead Burton

Simons Muirhead Burton’s multidisciplinary team offers expertise in sports disputes, regulatory and governance issues, crisis management and talent representation. Other notable areas of focus include sports media, commercial arrangements, corporate transactions and charity-related sports work. Practice head Marc Sobol is recommended for his work in media rights. Simon Goldberg, also head of the firm’s media and business rights team, advises on a range of corporate and commercial transactions for sports-based clients.

Practice head(s):

Marc Sobol

Other key lawyers:

Simon Goldberg; Stephen Shotnes

Key clients


International Hockey Federation

4Global Consulting Limited

The Women’s Sports Group

Zone Golf Limited

Fighters Choice Management

European Professional Club Rugby

Watford Association Football Club

London Irish Rugby Football Club

Total Performance Data Limited

Professional Squash Association

Cage Warriors

British Eventing

Obelisk Sports

Curveball Media

Work highlights

  • For Cage Warriors, negotiated and drafted exclusive multi-year global media rights agreement with UFC Fight Pass for all MMA events.
  • Advised The Professional Squash Association, the global squash federation, on a game-changing investment and strategic partnership with leading sports agency Infront.

Solesbury Gay

Solesbury Gay, a boutique sports law firm, handles contentious matters, commercial arrangements and anti-doping issues for clients across Formula 1, football, motorsport and Olympic sports. Practice head Mark Gay has notable expertise in sports governance issues and can draw on broad High Court and arbitration experience. Tom Solesbury, a double Olympian, co-leads the practice and acts for clients on a wide-range of sport-related issues.

Practice head(s):

Mark Gay; Tom Solesbury

Key clients

UK Athletics

The English Football League

Qatar Table Tennis Association

The Boat Race

F1 in Schools

Graham Stoker

Otmar Szafnauer

Work highlights

  • Represented UK Athletics in proceedings against John Lees, a coach who was found guilty of misconduct against athletes under his care and was banned for life from holding a coaching licence.
  • Acted for The English Football League in the long-running saga against Derby County FC.
  • Acted for Mr Otmar Szafnauer in High Court proceedings for alleged breach of contract against Aston Martin Racing F1 Team.

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP advises sports-related entities on matters of finance, corporate and competition law. The US-based firm has seen increasing instructions on athlete right matters, bolstered by the department’s close ties with the British Athletes’ Commission and PFA. Peter Crowther , also managing partner of the Brussels office, focuses on complaints and investigations relating to athlete welfare, performance development, funding, selection, classification, doping, and athlete agreements.

Practice head(s):

Peter Crowther

Key clients

British Athletes’ Commission

General American Capital Partners (GACP) / Bordeaux Football Club

Blake Leeper

Professional Footballers’ Association

Work highlights

  • Advised the Professional Footballers’ Association on the restructuring of its organisational and governance structures, further to an independent review into the organisation.
  • Advised the British Athletes Commission on the proposed arrangements that were to be put in place for the inquiry into historic abuse.
  • Advised American double-amputee track-and-field athlete Blake Leeper in his application seeking approval to compete in World Athletics-sanctioned events, including the Olympic Games, while using his prosthetics, and to have his results listed alongside those of able-bodied athletes.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP offers expertise in horse racing, football, motorsport, and polo. The Bristol-based practice is renowned for dealing with regulatory issues and brand management. Practice head Jeremy Dickerson  is recognised for his work in sponsorship, merchandising, advertising, internet issues, sport litigation and anti-doping.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Dickerson

Other key lawyers:

Helen Scott-Lawler; Neil Connor-McLaren

Key clients

The Racecourse Association

Racecourse Technical Services Limited

Scottish Premier Football League

Santa Barbara Polo Club

EDH Tennis Ltd (shareholders)

Bath Cricket Club

Virgin Sport

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Santa Barbara Polo Club in High Court and Court of Appeal trade mark proceedings.
  • Acted for the shareholders of EDH Tennis on its sale of the sport-tech company FlightScope Services to IMG Arena UK, a subsidiary of US-based entertainment and sports business Endeavour Group.


Fieldfisher’s cross-disciplinary sports practice operates closely with lawyers from the firm’s commercial, corporate, media, IP, dispute resolution, technology, finance and employment teams. Clients includes governing bodies, clubs, brands, public and private companies across sports such as football, rugby union and cricket. Andrew Sanderson and Patrick Cannon co-lead the department.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Sanderson; Patrick Cannon

Other key lawyers:

David Knight


‘The team that I worked with demonstrated constant professionalism and a very high level of organisational skills. They are very knowledgeable about how to conduct an independent inquiry, about the regulation and public law issues around sport and about data management and protection. They have excellent data sharing platforms and document management systems.’

‘As a team they are well co-ordinated and client focused. Their legal and administrative support is second to none and their ability to communicate clear and fair. They have each demonstrated incredibly good judgement and exceptional commitment.’

Key clients

Anne Whyte QC

Creator Fund


Genius Sport Ltd

Max Noble/Certified Sports

Peloton Interactive, Inc.

Profile Partners Group

Six to Start

Solihull Moors Football Club CIC

Work highlights

  • Advised  the Profile Partners Group, a key player in the marketing and distribution of sports media rights across Europe, in an unfair prejudice claim brought by minority shareholder, Michael Gott.
  • Advised ex-Fulham footballer, Max Noble, and his company Certified Sports, on his approach to clubs and governing bodies to suggest how to improve after-care for academy pupils and young professionals.
  • Ran an independent investigation into allegations of abuse in the sport of gymnastics, which is being overseen by Anne Whyte KC.

Howard Kennedy LLP

Howard Kennedy LLP advises governing bodies, clubs, agencies and other sports organisations on governance issues, strategic acquisitions and disposals, merchandising and endorsement rights, and commercial contracts. The firm also acts for sporting individuals on personal private matters and has developed a burgeoning esports practice. Department lead Lois Langton, also head of family law, is recognised for her work in football. Co-head Fiona Hinds deals with sports-related disputes and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Lois Langton; Fiona Hinds

Other key lawyers:

Kyle Phillips; Joel Leigh


‘The firm has the huge advantage of having partners that have hands on experience of sitting on the boards of various sporting bodies and regulators. There is a level of insight that no other firm can touch.’

‘Kyle Phillips is the go to partner for any sports related issue, but particularly footballing disputes

‘Joel Leigh is a brilliant litigator who is unafraid to leverage the threat of litigation in a sports dispute. Always right on the law.’

‘The team are truly hands on – making sure the clients get a personalised and dedicated service.’

‘Joel Leigh is dedicated, hands on partner who knows more about sports law (in particular, sports-related insolvency) work than any solicitor I know.’

Key clients

British Gymnastics Association Limited

Yorkshire Cricket Club

Keoghs LLP

Keoghs LLP focuses on sports and healthcare-related claims, in particular in relation to football, rugby and equine issues. The practice is instructed on matters relating to reputational damage, sexual and racial abuse and sports injury as well as disciplinary and regulatory proceedings. Healthcare head Sian Davies fronts the practice and focuses on sports claims involving healthcare issues and delays/failure in diagnosis claims.

Practice head(s):

Sian Davies

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Meltzer; Jason Howarth; Sarah Naylor; Ian Carroll; Caroline Cowan; Christopher Wilson


‘The team are highly experienced, efficient and proactive. There is a culture of teamwork which leads to issues being raised and resolved quickly.’

‘Daniel Meltzer is a highly experienced and knowledgeable solicitor with a huge expertise in the area of sports law.’

‘Oonagh Webster has an in depth knowledge of the law relating to sports cases.’

‘Ian Carroll   is an extremely dedicated professional who understands the particular challenges of such cases relating to the difficulty about obtaining documentary and other evidence so long after the event and the sensitivities that arise in connection with what are often unpleasant recollections of abuse.’


Work highlights

    Keystone Law

    Keystone Law’s sports offering combines expertise in litigation, reputation management, intellectual property, corporate, tax, employment, competition and private client maters. Jamie Horner has a focus on the motorsport industry, while Rachel Flynn specialises in horseracing and equine sports. Gerard Cukier advises on reputation management issues and Paul Daniels handles employment disputes within sport.

    Other key lawyers:

    Jamie Horner; Rachel Flynn; Gerard Cukier; Paul Daniels


    ‘Well organised firm on par with its main competitors.’

    ‘Gerard Cukier is very experienced,  with good judgment and clients like and trust him.’

    ‘The practice includes the excellent Jamie Horner.’

    ‘Jamie Horner is an outstanding practitioner in the sports sector, with enviable experience in many fields, including motor racing.’

    ‘Gerard Cukier is a highly experienced sports lawyer with additional entertainment law experience.’

    Key clients

    Arden Motorsport Limited/Arden International Motorsport Limited/ Arden Sports Management Limited

    Velocity Experience

    Young Racing Driver Academy Limited

    Kokoro Performance Limited

    English Willow


    TBA plc

    In2Racing Limited

    Kofler Group

    The Racing Foundation

    Thoroughbred Breeders Association

    Jockey Club Racecourses

    European Breeders Fund

    Oliver St Lawrence Bloodstock Limited

    Ricky Hatton

    Barry Silkman

    MyJet Asia PTE Limited

    Materials IP Limited

    Work highlights

    • Acted for football agent, Barry Silkman, in respect of a story appearing in the Daily Mail stating that a Plymouth Argyle Supporters club event, An Evening with Barry Silkman, that he was due to address was cancelled at the last minute because the supporters club found out that he had not been vaccinated. The matter was resolved with publication of a suitable correction in The Daily Mail and legal costs.
    • Represented brand experience agency Velocity Experience in relation to contractual issues connected with its ongoing production of the winter festival at Silverstone Race Circuit which is known as the Lap of Lights.
    • Provided a bespoke driver management agreement for a leading UK-based driver management and performance support operation, who work with young drivers from all over the world supporting their pathway to Formula 1.

    Norton Rose Fulbright

    Norton Rose Fulbright is experienced in the acquisition and disposal of sports franchises, negotiation of sponsorship deals, stadium financings and developments, and regulatory investigations. Corporate lawyer and practice head Stephen Rigby has developed a niche advising overseas investors into UK football clubs, as well as handling more general sporting and commercial matters.

    Practice head(s):

    Stephen Rigby

    Other key lawyers:

    Claire O’Donnell; Sarah Fitzpatrick

    Key clients

    Envision Virgin Racing

    British Racing Drivers Club Limited

    Crusaders Cricket Australia Inc.

    Southampton FC

    London Development Agency

    Société Générale

    777 Partners LLC

    Modern Times Group (MTG)

    Work highlights

    • Advised Mr Jisheng Gao on his sale of a majority stake in Southampton Football Club to Sport Republic, an investment firm led by Dragan Solak that operates in the sports and entertainment industry.
    • Advised Modern Times Group MTG AB (MTG) on the sale of ESL Gaming to the Savvy Gaming Group (SGG) in an all-cash transaction.
    • Advised 777 Partners LLC, a Miami-based private equity firm, on its equity investment into the British Basketball League.

    Russell-Cooke LLP

    Russell-Cooke LLP advises on the administration, governance and purchase of professional football clubs, constitutional regulatory matters and setting up sporting organisations as charitable trusts. The practice also deals with child protection policies and immigration issues for sports companies. Practice head Matt Bosworth handles reputational issues for sports-based clients.

    Practice head(s):

    Matt Bosworth


    ‘The firm don’t brag about work in the sector – they just get it done and keep it confidential.’

    ‘Good on disciplinary and regulatory matters.’

    ‘Matt Bosworth is superb in understanding client’s product offering, market place and strategic objectives.

    ‘A leader in protecting intellectual property rights for live sports events.’

    ‘Matt Bosworth really provides a first class service to his clients. His knowledge and experience in intellectual property rights for live sporting events has been key in the brand protection of our business.’

    Key clients

    Sky UK PLC

    British Fencing

    Cobham Rugby Football Club

    Sport Resolutions UK

    Surbiton Hockey Club

    Barnes Rugby Football Club

    Thames Ditton Cricket Club

    Kick It Out

    Chelsea Football Club

    Stephenson Harwood

    Stephenson Harwood is recommended for its work on matters relating to insolvency, particularly involving football clubs, and motorsport. Ben Sigler fronts the practice. Julian Cahn and newly promoted partner Nick Axup are further names to note.

    Practice head(s):

    Ben Sigler

    Other key lawyers:

    Julian Cahn; Nick Axup


    ‘Excellent understanding of the sports industry combined with excellent legal skills’

    ‘Ben Sigler is a good communicator, creative, with strong business acumen’

    ‘Ben Sigler had excellent knowledge and experience’

    ‘They have a great deal of experience in dealing with financial related sports club issues’

    ‘Nick Axup is a very good new partner.’

    Key clients

    Trustees in Bankruptcy of Boris Becker

    Blackpool Football Club

    Bolton Wanderers Football Club

    IQNOIQ Group S.A.R.L

    European Football Club

    Elite Sports Group

    Grab+Pull Fightwear Limited

    Revolve Performance Limited

    Stella International Holdings

    Work highlights

    • Acted for Boris Becker’s Trustees in bankruptcy.
    • Advised  IQONIQ Group S.A.R.L in relation to a dispute with CPFC Limited, the corporate vehicle which owns Crystal Palace Football Club. The claim related to IQONIQ’s alleged breaches of a sponsorship agreement with CPFC and, in particular, the failure to pay certain sponsorship and other fees that CPFC Limited say are due.
    • Advised a Champions League football club on the financing of high-profile transfers of well-known footballers to clubs in Europe’s top leagues.