Firms To Watch: Sport

Bray & Krais, Solicitors is led by Udo Onwere, a former professional footballer whose clubs included Fulham and Blackpool; his team acts for a number of 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 provides a ‘unique blend of industry expertise with the depth and breadth of a full-service law firm’. The practice consists of 18 lawyers who are completely dedicated to sports law, and who ‘possess a wealth of experience across all sports-related matters’, leveraging the firm’s international footprint to provide ‘formidable multi-jurisdictional capabilities’. Department head Jonathan Taylor QC runs a broad workload which encompasses a large number of commercial disputes, regulatory decision challenges and investigations; he recently co-edited the fourth edition of Lewis & Taylor’s Sport: Law & Practice, a testament to his ‘unrivalled knowledge of sports legal and regulatory issues’. The team also includes Max Duthie and Craig Giles, a duo praised as ‘pillars of absolute strength’, owing to the former’s expertise in rules and regulation, discipline and anti-doping affairs and the latter’s status as one of the market’s go-to names for media rights and commercial deals. Andy Danson is also a standout practitioner in the field of commercial agreements, including data rights and sponsorship arrangements, while on the transactional front, Robert Turnerexhibits superb matter management’ and Joss Hargrave  provides the group with financing prowess in respect of stadium projects, player transfers and club acquisitions. The team enjoys considerable strength in depth beyond partner level and includes senior associates Will Deller who has pioneered the firm’s esports offering, regulatory specialist Lauren Pagé, as well as Emma Drake, an up-and-coming name in the data protection and privacy space.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Taylor QC

Other key lawyers:

Max Duthie; Craig Giles; Andy Danson; Robert Turner; Joss Hargrave; Will Deller; Emma Drake; Lauren Pagé; Rebecca O’Kelly-Gillard


‘Jonathan Taylor QC and Max Duthie provide unrivalled expertise and responsiveness across all areas of sport. Hourly rates are highly competitive. Bird & Bird also have great depth throughout their fee earning structure. The team is always available and able to address challenges from regulatory to corporate to dispute resolution to commercial to COVID planning’

‘Jonathan Taylor QC: unrivalled knowledge of sports legal and regulatory issues. Massive intellectual processing power. Max Duthie: highly responsive, excellent litigation strategist, balanced and practical.’

‘The team has a wealth of experience across all sports-related matters and with multi-jurisdictional capabilities, which has been very useful when advising on agreements governed by the laws of non-UK jurisdictions.  The team has a good sense of knowing when to involve others with different areas of expertise and an excellent sense of collaboration.’

‘Robert Turner and Will Deller are both extremely responsive, pragmatic and personable individuals, who always exhibit excellent client care and superb matter management.’

‘The team provides a unique blend of industry expertise with depth and breadth of a full service law firm. They are well led by an extremely strong partner group and a wealth of talent at mid and junior level.  They are best in class when it comes to sports work.’

‘Max Duthie and Craig Giles have been absolute pillars of strength for me this past year.  In the most challenging of times, they have provide me with comprehensive, practical, and timely legal advice and are highly dependable.  Will Deller and Lauren Pagé all merit praise.’

‘Sports finance experts. High level of knowledge and experience, especially Joss Hargrave.’

Key clients

The British & Irish Lions

Six Nations Rugby

The Football Association (FA)

World Athletics

International Tennis Federation (ITF)

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD)


International Cricket Council (ICC)

The Football League

Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)

Work highlights

  • Advising British & Irish Lions Ltd on all aspects of their tour to South Africa, including an agreement between the Lions and the South African Rugby Union setting out the terms for the tour and how it will be commercialised.
  • Advised Six Nations Rugby Limited on a private equity investment by CVC. The team also completed its advice to Pro Rugby Championship on a similar investment by CVC and has since provided advice to Pro Rugby Championship on the implementation of the new arrangements.
  • Following its successful defence of World Athletics in the very high profile challenge brought by Caster Semenya in 2019 against its eligibility rules for the female category, in 2020 the team went back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for World Athletics and successfully defended its decision not to permit double amputee Blake Leeper to compete in the same classification as other athletes, based on detailed expert evidence that his carbon fibre prostheses give him an artificial advantage over other athletes.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is home to ‘strength in depth which permits it to cover a number of different areas’. The practice runs a far-reaching caseload in terms of industries, matter types and jurisdictions, though counts sporting-related integrity, rights and marketing among its foremost fields of focus, and also fields a dedicates SportsTech practice, fronted by Jody MacDonald. Jason Saiban is a specialist in sponsorship, merchandising, advertising and market mandates, notably serving as relationship partner to Nike, and co-heads the department alongside Nic Couchman, a lawyer who has recently deployed his formidable commercial rights expertise on behalf of Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford; their team includes corporate sports law practitioner, Satish Khandke, as well as Edward Craig who hones his focus on the contentious field with niche expertise in equine matters. Beyond partner level, senior associate Danielle Sharkeygoes the extra mile’ when advising governing bodies on litigious, regulatory and integrity matters.

Practice head(s):

Jason Saiban; Nic Couchman

Other key lawyers:

Jody MacDonald; Satish Khandke; Edward Craig; Danielle Sharkey; Nick White; Jon Higton


‘Quick responses to requests for advice. In-depth knowledge of media rights issues. Ability to propose innovative solutions in difficult negotiations.’

‘Jon Higton has provided invaluable advice on media rights matters and contracts. He understands the issues and drafts sensible and productive responses that progress negotiations.’

‘Responsive team with wide experience of other sports and an ability to provided sound advice in a short time frame.’

‘Easy to discuss issues with. Edward Craig is very efficient.’

‘The team has strength in depth, which permits it to cover a number of different areas.’

‘Danielle Sharkey goes the extra mile to understand a client’s needs and expectations.’

‘Nick White is particularly recommended.’

Key clients


Marcus Rashford

International Cricket Council

Premier League

International Tennis Federation

Ascot Racecourse

All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (Wimbledon)

Leicester City FC

Timo Werner


Work highlights

  • Advising on aspects of Marcus Rashford’s high profile children’s food poverty campaign and supporting on his wider international brand protection programme as well as advising on, and negotiating, contracts with Konami regarding Marcus’s cover star deal for Pro Evolution Soccer.
  • Advised the International Tennis Federation in relation to the name change of the Fed Cup to the Billie Jean King Cup (BJK Cup), and on a cutting-edge technology partnership with Microsoft, which will see the latest technology and data analytics used at the BJK Cup.
  • Acting as Nike’s (and subsidiary Converse) prime UK lawyers, advising them across the full range of practice areas including sponsorship, sports marketing, advertising, regulatory, privacy and data protection, litigation, employment and real estate.

Northridge Law LLP

A boutique firm widely considered among ‘the best in class for sports legal and regulatory matters’, Northridge Law LLP caters to a broad array of industry participants including sporting bodies, leading teams and clubs, and standout athletes and individuals. Jonathan Ellis is one of the market’s foremost litigators  - he serves as the primary contentious advisor to the FA; he jointly fronts the offering alongside Ian Lynam who is ‘excellent with contract and commercial matters’ including sponsorship agreements, transfers, image rights and player contracts with further expertise rules and regulation matters, most notably salary caps and financial fair play. James Eighteen is often supported by ‘excellent’ managing associate Oliver Harland and focuses on governing body representation, serving names such as the The British Horseracing Authority and Premiership Rugby. The practice recently made up two names to partner; Ben Rees, who possesses ‘thorough knowledge of contentious and sports regulatory matters’ and the ‘superb, razor sharpPaul Shapiro whose core strengths lie in competition and event establishment, football transfers and merchandising, among other affairs. Jon Walters is also integral to the offering owing to his proficiency in corporate investment and acquisition, commercial rights and governance.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Ellis; Ian Lynam

Other key lawyers:

Ben Rees; Paul Shapiro; Jon Walters; James Eighteen; Oliver Harland


‘They are best in class for sports legal and regulatory matters. They are very personable and professional. Their advise is always precise and on point.  When meeting other members of the firm, it is clear they are a very strong and supportive team, which transfers into how they approach their clients.’

‘Ian Lynam and James Eighteen. Collectively their ability to grasp the issue, provide succinct and appropriate advice, and in a very personable manner, is first class. They are always available and very helpful. Ian Lynam is excellent with contractual and commercial matters. James Eighteen is excellent with contentious matters and has the ability to think through the topic and identify potential outcomes. Their understanding and expertise within sport law is exceptional.’

‘Ben Rees has a professional approach and likeability has always meant that working with him has always been very positive. He is precise and diligent with a thorough knowledge in the sports regulatory and contentious area.’

‘They are just the unchallenged leaders in their field. They combine outstanding sector knowledge with first-class legal skills.’

‘A boutique firm that has become an extension of our business understanding the needs well and applying to all contractual negotiations.’

‘I have worked with Paul Shapiro for several years and value his service and experience hugely. Paul has a wide ranging knowledge and skillset in the industry and adapts very well to each of his clients and their needs. His client facing work is exceptional and I have total trust in his advice. He is regularly available for advice whenever I need him.’

‘Oliver Harland has become my primary point of contact and provides quick and thorough advice. In a short space of time he was able to develop an excellent understanding of the industry and has progressed to deal with some of our most complex cases, simplifying the issues.’

Key clients

Chelsea FC

The Football Association (The FA)

Premiership Rugby (PRL)

Betway Group

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU)

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA)

Kevin De Bruyne

Roc Nation Sports


Elliott Advisors

Rugby Football League (RFL)

Work highlights

  • Advised The FA on a wide range of issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as its decision to null and void the seasons at Steps 3-7 of the National League in 2020.
  • Advised Two Circles on the acquisition of TRM Partners, one of the leading M&A deals in the sports industry in 2020.
  • Acting for Lille OSC in defending a €45m claim brought by Sporting Clube de Portugal, one of the largest ever claims of its kind brought in football.

Onside Law LLP

Onside Law LLP is hailed as an ‘excellent boutique focused on sports law with tons of commercial experience and industry knowledge’. The practice represents a large proportion of leading sporting bodies, including the FIA, ECB and the RFU, while also catering to leading athletes and clubs such as Borussia Dortmund and England footballer Jude Bellingham, Dallas Mavericks basketball star Luka Doncic and Brighton & Hove Albion, all of whom have been added to the roster over the past 12 months. In terms of personnel, the ‘reliable and extremely experiencedChris Walsh spearheads the dispute and sports regulatory offering while Oliver Hunt is a market leader for golf and football matters, having recently supported Leeds United with several of its biggest transfers. Adam Leadercramer, famed for his ‘unflappable, great judgement’, co-heads the sports media department, while Jamie Singer focuses on IP, governance and regulatory matters. Simon Thorp fronts the corporate team, earning acclaim as a ‘trusted advisor’, and the team recently gained a new partner as data protection expert, Sophie Wilkinson, earned an internal promotion. At senior associate level Ross Brown is forging a strong reputation for regulatory disputes mandates, while Harriet Leach, who was recently appointed as head of women’s football, also has niche esports proficiency and James Hill is a ‘really thorough lawyer who is on top of the detail‘.

Practice head(s):

Simon Thorp; Oliver Hunt; Jamie Singer; Chris Walsh; Adam Leadercramer; Stevie Loughrey; Sophie Wilkinson

Other key lawyers:

James Hill; Ben Hanglin; Leon Farr; Harriet Leach


‘We have worked closely with Onside through a a major governance review of our sports governing body. Accessing best practice recommendations and shaping these to fit our organisation has been delivered with ease. Onside are reliable, have the expertise and are able to hit tight deadlines as we have often put them under. A great team of people with great contacts!’

‘Chris Walsh is reliable and extremely experienced in sport. Harriet Leach has provided much support to us with trademark matters. Ross Brown provided assistance in sports governance processes’

‘I first engaged Onside Law on an employment issue in February 2020 just prior to the start of the pandemic. I was incredibly impressed and this has ultimately led to me moving all of our legal work to them. They are incredibly knowledgeable about the football sector, but more than that, they are pragmatic and able to give strategic risk based advice, all delivered in the best way for the particular audience. They are able to draw on prior experience with other clients in football and in the wider sporting arena and provide wise counsel and excellent insights which have helped us immeasurably in a number of critical strategic decisions we have taken over the last 18 months.’

‘Without exception all of the lawyers I deal with at Onside Law in this sector are highly skilled, immensely approachable and entirely tuned in to providing the best client experience possible. Most notably I work with Oliver Hunt, Simon Thorp, Harriet Leach and Leon Farr.  All of these individuals have taken the time to understand our particular business and the challenges we face.’

‘Adam Leadercramer, Sophie Wilkinson and Jerry McGrath have a capacity to understand complex client requirements and fully integrate with in-house legal teams. Practical and constructive management and virtual secondments.’

‘Extensive sector knowledge and very receptive to our needs. Broad range of skills within the business to help with a variety of specific requirements. Very responsive and honest in their feedback. Go above and beyond to help commercially as well as legally. Very well connected in the sporting world.’

‘Very clear in their communication and quick to respond to our needs. Fun to work with while highly professional. Comfortable giving us opinion beyond the legal requirements makes them more commercial than their competitors. Simon Thorpe is my main point of contact and is an outstanding lawyer.’

‘Adam Leadercramer always blends technical expertise with a pragmatic approach, and is our go-to advisor for difficult queries. Simon Thorp is a trusted advisor to our management team throughout high stakes transactions and has provided great counsel throughout. Ben Hanglin is very efficient, client-focused and has been a huge support to our business during corporate transactions.’

Key clients

World Rugby

Tottenham Hotspur

Heart of Midlothian FC


World Snooker

British Horseracing Authority

Brighton & Hove Albion

Tommy Fleetwood

England and Wales Cricket Board

Leeds United



Jude Bellingham

Eden Hazard

Red Bull Racing

International Tennis Integrity Agency

AC Milan


EPCR (European Rugby)

Sky Sports

Work highlights

  • Worked with the FIA’s legal and operational teams on the return of Formula One.
  • Advised Leeds United on the implications of Covid, and the implications concerning promotion, as well as playing a pivotal role in the club’s player recruitment, advising on more than 20 transfers and manager Marcelo Bielsa’s re-appointment.
  • Advised on the staging of England’s international cricket matches in July to Sept 2020 against Australia, West Indies and Pakistan on a Behind Closed Doors basis and on all aspects of the creation and roll out of The Hundred.

Centrefield LLP

Centrefield LLP possesses ‘unrivalled knowledge when it comes to sports-related law, particularly football’. The sports and media specialist firm, which is based in Manchester but has a broad national focus, represents some of London’s biggest clubs, including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham, regularly supporting on transfers, transactions, regulatory issues, contacts and disciplinary issues. Clients ‘completely trust the knowledge and guidance’ of practice co-head, Matthew Bennett, a lawyer who has overseen hundreds of millions of pounds worth of player transfers in recent months and also routinely represents clients before the Premier League, The FA, UEFA and FIFA in addition to other dispute resolution forums. The team also includes Oliver Sadler who specialises in sponsorship, image rights and merchandising affairs, among other contractual matters, and is active in an array of other industries including rugby, cricket, swimming, cricket and esports.

Practice head(s):

Edward Canty; David Bentham; Matthew Bennett; Stuart Baird

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Sadler


‘Unrivalled knowledge when it comes to sport related law matters, particularly football. Advice on complex matters is delivered in a relaxed, easy to understand way which assists in your own understanding and development on matters.’

‘Matthew Bennett is recommended as I completely trust his knowledge and guidance on matters. He has a very likeable approach as a person, inspires confidence and reassurance and always looking for a calm solution to matters.’

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

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Celtic Football Club

Work highlights

  • Advising The Rugby Players’ Association in connection with the consultation, drafting and implementation of a new salary cap regime to govern financial regulation in domestic rugby union following on from the Saracens case and Lord Myners’ independent review.
  • Assisting The Professional Footballers’ Association in connection with its representation of its members in relation to HMRC’s approach to intermediary fees and the longstanding practice of dual representation.
  • Assisting Super League in connection with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020 season, including in respect of its key broadcasting arrangement with Sky.

Farrer & Co

The sports team at elite London firm Farrer & Co is fronted by Julian Pike, a disputes specialist with a formidable track record in reputation management, contractual affairs and legal challenges involving governing bodies. Key points of differentiation for the group include its dedicated safeguarding unit, which supports organisations on governance and integrity matters, as well as its ability to tap into the firm’s wider finance, data protection and immigration, property, tax and image rights expertise to provide a full-service offering to both athletes and organisations. Tom Bruce is the key contact for both sensitive governance and critical joint venture matters while Henry Sainty is the go-to for data protection and commercial contract affairs. David Hunt supports governing bodies on contentious and non-contentious employment affairs while at senior associate level, Owen O’Rorke is forging a strong reputation for his work on sponsorship, betting and broadcasting rights.

Practice head(s):

Julian Pike

Other key lawyers:

Tom Bruce; Kate Allass; Henry Sainty; David Hunt; Owen O’Rorke


‘They have a strong understanding of us as an organisation, and the evolution that we have been through over the last decade, which provides additional support through the decision making process.’

‘Tom Bruce has a clear appreciation of both the business objective alongside the legal process. When we are undertaking a piece of work, having both sides clear is an important outcome.’

‘Tom Bruce is always available and couldn’t be more helpful.’

Key clients

PGA European Tour

The FA

International Canoe Federation

Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)

International Netball Federation

Martin Glenn

British Swimming

UK Athletics

Henley Royal Regatta

Work highlights

  • Advised PGA European Tour on its negotiation of a strategic alliance with PGA Tour, including an equity investment by PGA Tour into PGA European Tour’s media rights and production company, PGA European Tour Productions Limited.
  • Advised The FA regarding the BBC documentary Anton Ferdinand: Football, Racism and Me, which reviewed the criminal and disciplinary action brought in 2011 against John Terry, the then Chelsea and England captain for his discriminatory conduct during a Premier League match.
  • Advised Martin Glenn, the former CEO of the FA, on defamation and harassment proceedings in the High Court against a former employee of Fulham Football Club.


Level has eschewed the traditional law firm model in favour of a flat structure and platform from which lawyers run their own individual practices. Morris Bentata is hailed as ‘arguably the leading sports broadcasting lawyer in the UK’ while the ‘exceptionalDaniel Lowen is a figure of prominence within football owing to his representation of players and agents in transfer, commercial contract and contentious affairs. At the more junior level, Tim Lowles has handled a number of Covid-19-related disputes of late, while Rowena Samarasinhe is a sponsorship specialist who has a track record in supporting international federations with governing regulations and event documentation. Liz Coley recently joined from Walker Morris LLP and arrives with ‘excellent experience in footballing matters’.

Other key lawyers:

Morris Bentata; Daniel Lowen; Tim Lowles; Rowena Samarasinhe; Liz Coley


‘Liz Coley is highly respected with excellent experience in footballing matters and she understands the priorities within a club.’

‘Daniel Lowen is exceptional and I would not hesitate to recommend Level.’

‘Level are unique in their ability to offer industry leading sports law experts at a senior level whilst still providing value for money to their clients. They are friendly, progressive and offer a refreshing change from the traditional formality of other law firms of equal standing.’

‘Morris Bentata is arguably the leading sports broadcasting lawyer in the UK. He combines a deep knowledge and understanding of the law in this area with a rare commerciality and is a genuine pleasure to work with. Hard-working, enormously likeable and hugely talented.’

Key clients

Atalanta Media

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Asian Football Confederation


Interregional Sports Group

Chris Froome, Adam Yates and Simon Yates

RDA Television LLP

Robbie Lyle

Beno Obano

Work highlights

  • Advising DAZN on all of its major projects including the acquisition of exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League for Germany.
  • Advising on over 75 transfers, loans and new contracts, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s high-profile new contract at Arsenal, Ollie Watkins’ club record transfer to Aston Villa, Donny van de Beek’s move to Manchester United, Callum Wilson’s and Ryan Fraser’s moves to Newcastle Utd and Rhian Brewster’s club record move to Sheffield Utd.
  • Advising the Asian Football Confederation (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 LLP boasts a team of ‘experts with the most up-to-date knowledge’ and who are ‘extremely well-connected with clubs and agents’. The most prevalent matters among the group’s caseload stem from football and rugby, though expertise is also held in a number of other industries, including motorsport, horse racing, cycling and boxing. Alex Kelham ‘keeps on top of branding and protection issues’, running a broad practice which is spread across IP, advertising and commercial agreements; she jointly fronts the offering with Andrew Osborne who is a prominent sports immigration practitioner, ably supported by managing associate Stephen O’Flaherty with a particular focus on supporting Premier League and Championship Clubs with player transfers. Jonathan Carr is the contact for employment and contractual affairs and the group is also geared to support on corporate and commercial transactions owing to the ‘pre-eminent‘ capabilities of Karish Andrews. Senior associate John Shea is also an integral cog to the offering and is noted as ‘especially strong on international sporting disputes’.

Practice head(s):

Alex Kelham; Andrew Osbourne

Other key lawyers:

Stephen O’Flaherty; Jonathan Carr; Karish Andrews; John Shea


‘Very strong in sport, especially commercial disputes.  Extremely well-connected with clubs and agents.’

‘Karish Andrews is very linked in and pre-eminent on the corporate side of sporting matters.’

‘Alex Kelham is a former Commonwealth Games swimmer and on top of branding/protection and publicly funded sporting issues.

‘John Shea is a terrific senior associate who is going places fast. Especially strong on international sporting disputes.’

‘Lewis Silkin are experts in their field and, as a client, I have full confidence that they have the latest and most up to date knowledge of their subject. They are efficient, reliable and always have a can-do attitude.’

‘Stephen O’Flaherty has a positive approach to every challenge and is meticulous in his work and knowledgeable in his field. No matter how many clients Stephen and his team may be working with, he always make you feel like you are his priority.’

Key clients

Arsenal Football Club

Rugby Football Union

Chelsea Football Club Limited

Northampton Saints Rugby Football Club

Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club Ltd

Ladies Professional Golf Association

Ascot Racecourse Limited

Goodwood Racecourse Limited

Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd (Williams Formula 1 Team)

CAA Base Limited

British Telecommunications plc (re BT Sport)


366 Sports

Supponor Limited

Reema Juffali (Saudi Arabia’s first female racing driver)

OCP Madison Holdings/Madison Sports Group Limited (Owner of Six Day Cycling Series)

Fulham Football Club


Welsh Rugby Union

Work highlights

  • Acted for three Northampton Saints rugby players (Matt Proctor, Andy Symons and Lewis Bean) in disciplinary proceedings brought by European Professional Club Rugby in December 2019. All three players were cited for committing dangerous tackles.
  • Negotiated Three’s shirt sponsorship deal with Chelsea FC.
  • Helped Ascot Racecourse  to adapt its plans to run ROYAL ASCOT at home when the racecourse was closed to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Leveraging a considerable national and international network of offices, Pinsent Masons LLP is home to a ‘very collaborative practice with wide-reaching connections across global sport, especially in football, horse racing and athletics’. The ‘superbly networkedTrevor Watkins fronts the global offering and has recently advised a number of prominent clients, including Liverpool FC and World Athletics, on Covid-19 ramifications; his team includes Manchester-based duo Julian Diaz-Rainey who is ‘massively experienced’ in the sector’s largest disputes, arbitrations and disciplinary proceedings, as well as commercial contracts specialist Samantha Livesey.

Practice head(s):

Trevor Watkins

Other key lawyers:

Julian Diaz-Rainey; Samantha Livesey


‘First-rate, hugely experienced.’

‘Julian Diaz-Rainey is massively experienced and very astute.’

‘Trevor Watkins is much liked, extraordinary at networking and very knowledgeable.’

‘Very collaborative practice with wide-reaching connections across global sport, but especially strong in football, horse racing and athletics.’

‘Trevor Watkins is superbly networked, knowledgeable, insightful. Julian Diaz-Rainey is knowledgeable and commercial with a strong client base.’

Key clients

Jockey Club Racecourses

WIT Fitness Limited

Diamond League AG

Global Venue Services Limited

World Athletics

Liverpool FC

UK Sport

English Golf Union

The Football Association

Manchester City FC

Work highlights

  • Advising Jockey Club Racecourses, a shareholder in Racecourse Media Group, a body that represents the media rights of its shareholders.
  • Advised US investment firm, ALK Capital, on the acquisition of English Premier League side Burnley FC.
  • Entrusted as sole advisor on the creation of Global Venue Services Ltd and then the development of a range of new ventures.

Squire Patton Boggs

The ‘first-rate’ sports lawyers in Squire Patton Boggs’ London office are part of a global team spread across Europe, the US and Australia. The domestic practice is especially well-regarded for its expertise in corporate and M&A, contentious and regulatory, commercial, IP and employment matters – the team has also recently boosted its expertise in digital media and gambling with the recent high-profile arrivals of broadcasting and digital advertising expert Warren Phelops and Mike Llewellyn from K&L Gates LLP. Stephen Sampson, ‘one of the UK’s most experienced sports lawyers’, leads the department; his foremost fields of activity are contentious and regulatory mandates, including those before sports tribunals and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, though he also routinely supports on non-contentious matters including corporate and commercial agreements.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Sampson

Other key lawyers:

Warren Phelops; Mike Llewellyn; Stuart McInnes; David Hull; Thomas Horton


‘Great knowledge of the sport allied to an impressive insight into the law.’

‘Stephen Sampson provides shrewd analysis and excellent skills in presenting a case.’

I recently moved my sports-related work to SPB and have been very pleased with the level of partner support across a broad range of needs – well beyond that of just sports.’

‘Very hands on engagement from my primary partner, Warren Phelops but also strong engagment from Stephen Sampson. I want to give a special nod to Mike Llewellyn, the senior associate who does much of the drafting of complex documents and contracts – he is a standout star!’

‘First-rate sports specialist team with broad range of experience and industry knowledge.’

‘Stave Sampson is one of the most experienced sports lawyers in the UK with unrivalled knowledge. He is also one of the most hard working, well prepared and thoughtful solicitors in the space, who gives 100% to his clients and has very good judgment.’

‘Squire Patton Boggs’ understanding of the sports world is absolutely excellent and was key in our decision to engage their services. We have been highly impressed.’

‘Stephen Sampson is an exceptional litigator, not only with a vast knowledge but with a very down-to-earth practical way of applying that knowledge to what was a very novel area of law. Warren Phelops has a huge understanding of the sports world and is excellent at applying that knowledge to novel areas of law in order to find solutions that are sometimes far-from obvious.’

Key clients

AIA Company Limited

The International Tennis Federation

Yorkshire County Cricket Club

World Sailing

Sheffield Wednesday FC

Arena Racing

Alpine Racing Limited

Chelsea FC


Mesut Özil



Work highlights

  • Advised Sheffield Wednesday Football Club in respect of various charges brought by the EFL in respect of the EFL profit and sustainability financial rules relating to the sale of Hillsborough stadium.
  • Assisting the Renault Sport (Now Alpine Racing) team through the COVID-19 crisis including dealing with commercial arrangements between the team and drivers and suppliers, Project Pitlane (the proposal for F1 teams to supply ventilators to the NHS), and return to work and racing policies, protocols and training.
  • Succeeded in defending client World Sailing in two consecutive antitrust investigations, first by the Italian Antitrust Authority, and subsequently, by the European Commission.

Brabners LLP

Hailed as a ‘first-rate firm’, Manchester's Brabners LLP acts for a range of London-based and international clients, including several leading sports agencies. The ‘excellent’ Lydia Edgar heads the firm's sports sector team; she is an employment specialist with a track record in overseeing high-profile moves within the sports industry. Jason Smith is also a key figure, having notable advised several high-profile brands in respect of sponsorship deals for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Senior partner Maurice Watkins CBE, a former director of Manchester United and a leading light in the sports law market, passed away in August 2021.

Practice head(s):

Lydia Edgar

Other key lawyers:

Jason Smith; Andrew McGregor; Catherine Forshaw


‘Highly organised and efficient.’

‘I deal with Andrew McGregor. In my opinion, he is the best in his field.’

‘Brabners are a first-rate firm. They are a full service team, but with real strength and depth in sport.  Historically, Brabners have had excellent links into football and rugby clubs, and more recently represents national governing bodies.’

‘Andrew McGregor is excellent, efficient and knowledgeable about football in particular.’

‘The strength is in the people skills to deal with legal problems, with an emotional understand of the client’s anxieties.’

‘The team builds relationships and strikes a great balance between knowing the legal issues involved and understanding the people involved.’

‘The practice has provided excellent service in a number of legal areas covering legal representation, contract review and design, contract negotiations, policy and procedures review and advice.’

‘Catherine Forshaw has provided exceptional service in the last year to our business, providing advice and engagement with other areas of the Brabners business where expertise, we required could be engaged.’

‘Excellent customer service. A breadth of knowledge, sports specific and a real understanding of the customer base. Fully on board with our vision/mission and how the support line feeds into that. Always offering added value wherever possible.’

‘Lydia Edgar is excellent, keeps us well informed and pre-empts potential issues – regular feedback and areas for consideration.’

Key clients

Liverpool Football Club

Leicester City Football Club

Barnsley Football Club

Lawn Tennis Association

Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group

Wasserman Media Group

Midas Sports Management

Lancashire County Cricket Club

Commonwealth Games Federation

Ben Stokes

Wigan Rugby League Club Limited

Coleen Rooney

Everton Football Club Women Limited

Work highlights

  • Appointed by the Lawn Tennis Association, after a competitive tender process, to deliver support to its 2000+ clubs and coaches by way of a dedicated helpline.
  • Acting for Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds Limited on the Anfield Stadium expansion. The club has applied for planning permission to expand the Anfield Road Stand and for a permanent consent for concerts and major (non-footballing) events at Anfield Stadium.
  • As the impact of COVID-19 gripped football, clubs, players and agencies required support. Through the team’s recent work and through consultations with its clients, it was able to quickly identify and analyse the key legal and commercial issues.

Clifford Chance LLP

Magic circle firm Clifford Chance LLP has ‘extraordinary’ sporting expertise, tailor-made to support on disputes, finance and corporate matters. The team caters to a client roster of investors, governing bodies, teams and stakeholders in addition to elite athletes, and is helmed by litigator Christopher Yates who advises on crisis management and disputes with reputational significance. Senior associate James Cranston also focuses on contentious matters, covering litigation, arbitration and investigations. The hugely experienced Tim Lewis has advised Arsenal Football Club on corporate matters over many years, and in July 2020 was appointed as a non-executive director of the Premier League club. TMT specialist Jennifer Mbaluto offers ‘invaluable advice’ on the media rights front.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Yates; James Cranston

Other key lawyers:

Tim Lewis; Jennifer Mbaluto


‘Clifford Chance is one of the best firms in the UK. The team’s dedication towards and understanding of the issues involved in the cases assigned to them is commendable.’

‘James Cranston is a thorough professional who is not only a hard working lawyer but also extremely hardworking and responsive towards client needs.’

‘The Clifford Chance team is extraordinary.  They have naturally become an extension of our own. And by doing so they have added real value to everything we do.’

‘Jennifer Mbaluto has always offered invaluable advice in a very precise, concise, direct, pragmatic and entirely constructive manner.’

‘Christopher Yates; extremely bright, very commercially astute, excellent at client handling, and very skilled at putting a first rate team together and running it. Top quality. James Cranston: as good as it gets; he is utterly sensational.’

‘Clifford Chance are extremely committed towards their clients and ensure the provision of valuable and reliable legal advice, which is not only based on an in-depth study of the issues and thorough research, but is well-supported by law and also practically viable. The firm’s extensive experience and vast knowledge in corporate and legal matters guarantees delivery of services of the highest quality, be it in terms of finalising legal documents or representing clients in international dispute resolution proceedings.’

‘What is unusual about Clifford Chance is the fact that global elite firms typically struggle to develop a leading sports practice, but this has not held the firm back. Principally through the hard work and expertise of James Cranston and Christopher Yates, they really do now have a market-leading sports practice.’

Key clients

Arsenal Football Club

International Paralympic Committee

E Stanley Kroenke and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

Pakistan Cricket Board

Invictus Games Foundation

Southampton Football Club

Valeri Belokon (former President of Blackpool Football Club)

VB Football Assets


World Rugby

Centre for Sport and Human Rights

Sport Resolutions anti-doping panel

City Football Group

Work highlights

  • Advising the International Paralympic Committee on headline sponsorship agreements, commercial disputes and over a dozen anti-doping matters.
  • Advising VB Football Assets on an unfair prejudice petition judgment worth £31.7m that resulted in the sale of Blackpool Football Club and follow on enforcement proceedings.
  • Acting for Epic Games in an anti-competition case brought against Apple in relation to the sale of Fortnite through the App Store.


Praised for its ‘expert, practice and proactive service’, international firm CMS supports clients on an extremely broad array of matters; recent work has spanned media rights, general commercial advice, regulatory, IP, disputes, corporate, finance and competition law mandates on behalf of clients as diverse as UEFA, BT Sport, Liverpool FC and The England and Wales Cricket Board. Practice head David Zeffman is a figure of prominence within the market and has advised on sales of media rights for some of the largest global sporting competitions.

Practice head(s):

David Zeffman

Other key lawyers:

Susan Barty; John Enser; Tom Scourfield


‘The team are very knowledgeable and conscientious and so I always look forward to meeting with them.’

‘Friendly, expert, practical, proactive team of lawyers. Market-leading advisers.’

‘Tom Scourfield’s quality of work is excellent and thorough. He gets it right first time. A pleasure to deal with him.’

Key clients

Alex Knaster

British Telecommunications (BT Sport)

Chelmsford City Racecourse

DAZN Limited

England and Wales Cricket Board

Independent Television News (ITN)

International Cricket Council

Liverpool Football Club

Sports Information Services Limited (SIS)

Television Event and Media Marketing AG (TEAM)

The All England Lawn Tennis Club

Union Des Associations Européennes De Football (UEFA)

Work highlights

  • Advising the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on several agreements granting licensees in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere the right to broadcast coverage of English cricket matches; and drafting standard form media rights agreements.
  • Acting for Sports Information Services Limited, in The Racing Partnership Ltd & Ors v Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd & Ors, which related to the creation and provision of horseracing betting odds and other data relating to horseraces at the racecourses of Arena Leisure Limited.
  • Advising various broadcasters and rightsholders on the implications of the pandemic on their broadcasting contracts, most of which provided vital funding for the relevant sport.

DLA Piper

At DLA Piper, Nick Fitzpatrick co-chairs the global media, sports and entertainment sector group from London; the team has a particular focus on sponsorship, digital broadcasting, copyright affairs and media rights work.

Practice head(s):

Nick Fitzpatrick

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Harbottle & Lewis LLP is home to a sports practice praised by one client as ‘pure gold standard’. Practice head Bob Mitchell is a dedicated specialist in this sector; he is principally active on commercial and regulatory affairs, supporting a client list of governing bodies, marketing and management agencies, leading brands and athletes. A further figure of prominence is Michael Lister, who ‘consistently provides top quality advice’ on sponsorship agreements, event staging arrangements and player contracts, both on the field and off of it. The practice is able to call upon the firm’s leading defamation and reputation management expertise and also includes ‘fantastic’ associate Mike Jones, who recently supported on German international Kai Havertz’s transfer to Chelsea FC.

Practice head(s):

Bob Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Michael Lister; Mike Jones


‘The team feels like an extension of ours – they fit in seamlessly providing commercial and practical advice and drafting when we need them. We work across a very broad range of arts and entertainment sectors, from global ceremonies to creative installations and festivals and we know that the team can plug in and advise confidently whatever we turn our hand to.’

‘A lot of our work involves cutting-edge technology and often deals that are the first of their kind. The team have been very helpful in helping us with novel agreements and in getting things done in short timescales. They are pragmatic, highly commercial and also great people who we enjoy working with, which makes a big difference.’

‘Mike Jones is fantastic, he is commercial and highly pragmatic and feels like an extended part of the team. He is able to turn his hand at a really wide range of agreements and subject matters, often working at the forefront of new technologies in entertainment. We enjoy working with him and value his advice and input.’

‘Michael Lister consistently provides top quality advice and is really commercial and pragmatic – he really gets what we are trying to achieve and helps us get there, steering us through any challenges that come up. A safe pair of hands with a cool and calm approach. He is a really nice guy to work with, and feels like an extended part of our team. Highly recommended!’

‘They have the talent to make complex legal topics understandable and comprehensible for us as a commercial/sponsorship outfit. Very experienced in the sports industry and with big sports organisations. They are pure gold standard from my point of view.’

Key clients

Kai Havertz

South African Professional Rugby Players’ Association

Cricket West Indies

Nissan e.dams

The Queen’s Club

David Beckham

Team England Player Partnership (England Cricketers)

Esports player Mongraal (Kyle Jackson)

Powerboat P1

Tyrone Mings



Ladies European Tour

Williams Harfield Sports

Conor Hourihane

Memphis Depay

Che Adams

Professional Cricketers’ Association

The Race Around

Bamg Sports Limited


Federation of International Cricket Association


Gumball Rally

Work highlights

  • For Team England Player Partnership, the firm acted on behalf of England’s cricket players in respect of such arrangements including establishing protocols, negotiating and advising on revised playing contracts and new commercial and employment agreements.
  • Advised the Nissan e.dams Formula E team on various sponsorship, kit supply, car development and sports marketing agency agreements as well as on the impact of COVID-19 and the team’s return to racing under bio-secure conditions.
  • Advised German international footballer Kai Havertz and his management team on a number of aspects of his club record transfer to Chelsea FC, including advising and negotiating his image rights licence and playing contract with the club.

Mills & Reeve LLP

With a national, full-service and ‘absolutely stellar’ team, Mills & Reeve LLP counts its expertise in women’s sports, arbitration and the issues facing player unions and associations among its key points of differentiation. The team also has a notable track record of representing footballers and agents from Spain and South America. Mark Hovell is a ‘very experienced arbitrator’ who handles a substantial caseload at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, while Julian Moore leads the London practice, specialising in media and sponsorship deals. Elsewhere, employment practitioner Richard Santy is the go-to for a number of football clubs and Carol Couse provides the group with considerable regulatory expertise, specifically in relation to UEFA disciplinary matters, transfer agreements, player disputes and work permits, often working with 'top-class' senior associate Phil Hutchinson.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hovell; Carol Couse; Julian Moore; Richard Santy

Other key lawyers:

Phil Hutchinson; Tiran Gunawardena


‘Genuine deep knowledge of the football regulatory structure both in England and Europe.’

‘I worked with Tiran Gunawardena on a matter ongoing in the Court of Arbitration for Sport and thought he was excellent; he had mastered the detail in a very impressive way and gave confident clear advice.’

‘Julian Moore is a pleasure to work with. He is extremely knowledgeable, nothing is too much trouble and realistic with fees.’

‘The sports team is absolutely stellar. They have brilliant lawyers from partner-level through all levels of associate. They have fantastic quality work and are rightly trusted by clients in the most high profile cases.’

‘Carol Couse: completely down-to-earth and great to work with. Excellent knowledge of the football industry in particular. Tiran Gunawardena and Phil Hutchinson are both brilliant – extremely hardworking; great with clients; excellent industry knowledge; strategic; and fantastic at managing complex, high profile cases.’

‘Top of the tree in terms of technical knowledge and expertise.  They work tirelessly to get the best results for their clients. A joy to work with as they are friendly, approachable and provide easy to digest advice on complex matters.’

‘Carol Couse works tirelessly for clients, superb communicator, gives clear and practical advice on often complex multi-jurisdictional matters. Phil Hutchinson is highly knowledgeable with beneficial relationships with many sports federations, top-class communicator. Tiran Gunawardena is super smart; like an encyclopaedia of sports law. Fully invested in getting the best outcomes for his clients.’

‘Mark Hovell: very experienced arbitrator, wide experience of sport. Carol Couse: well known in the field, dedicated, committed. Phil Hutchinson: a great lawyer, fantastic with clients. Tiran Gunawardena: clever, determined, trusted by clients, good judgment.’

Key clients

Professional Footballers’ Association

The Court of Arbitration for Sport

Kieran Trippier

Kevin De Bruyne

Union Cycliste Internationale

Super League Europe

England Golf

Professional Golfers Association

The British Cycling Federation

British Boxing Board of Control

The Rangers Football Club

Watford FC

Luton Town FC

Infront Sports & Media


Gambling Commission

Kim Andersen (former President of World Sailing)

International Ultrarunners Association

Divock Origi

James Milner

YM&U Agency

Daniel Sturridge

Steph Houghton

Lucy Bronze

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP is praised for its ‘second-to-none knowledge and understanding of sports sector developments’. The team supports a broad array of industry participants, including athletes, agents, owners, clubs, investors, sponsors and governing bodies, and is particularly established in the regulatory, IP and corporate fields, having also witnessed notable grown in its data/technology work of late. Legal director Simon Leaf is a specialist in respect of transfers, commercial contracts and image/digital rights agreements; his team includes Tom Murray, an associate with financial fair play and third party expertise, as well as partner Lewis Cohen who possesses a noteworthy track record in big-ticket sponsorship deals, including those pertaining to the World Cup, European Championship and team kits.

Practice head(s):

Simon Leaf

Other key lawyers:

Lewis Cohen; Tom Murray


‘Simon Leaf is doing a very good job of leading a bright, hardworking and enthusiastic team.’

‘I’m always very impressed by Mishcon de Reya’s sport practice. Their knowledge and understanding of the most recent developments in the sector is second to none, while their expertise is as broad as it is deep. In particular, they have been most helpful in advising on post-Brexit implications for sports teams and players, as well as complex disputes between teams and leagues.’

‘I would like to give particular praise to Simon Leaf, who manages to be expert across intellectual property, commercial rights, contract issues and disputes, all while remaining the consummate professional.’

‘Very strong at sports regulatory work, esports, formula one, and also – uniquely, the team has a sports law academy to bring on and develop future lawyers.’

‘Simon Leaf is very strong at sports regulatory work. Tom Murray is at the forefront of associate level solicitors specialised in sports law.’

‘Mishcon have a strong tax and esports offering, and understand the sector. Their Masterclass webinar series has been excellent during the pandemic.’

‘Mishcon de Reya is by far the legal firm at the very top of my list of law practice firms I have worked with in the UK. The main strength in my view is the calibre of people, who are simply superb. They are not just experts in their respective areas, but also win the client’s trust from the first interaction to the very end of the engagement.

‘Tom Murray is very attentive and always available and checking in. Even though he has only had a short career in the sports space, his knowledge and his passion for the industry makes up for it. Simon Leaf has always provided a high level of support.’

Key clients

Castore / J.Carter Sporting Club Ltd

The Italian Rugby Federation

Alex ‘ALEX’ McMeekin (professional esports player)

Rugby Football Union

Geoff Rowley and Jason Baker (as Former Joint Administrators of the Force India Formula One Team (in liquidation)

Walton Heath Golf Club (Women’s Open)

WR Digital

Hiscox Action Group

8 by 8

Women in Football


Rogon Sport Management

SBE Management AG

SIS (Sports Information Services)

England Boxing

Golf Breaks

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of the former Joint Administrators of the Force India Formula One Team in relation to the successful defence of a multi-million pound claim brought by an unsuccessful bidder for the team when it entered into administration. The team also acted on the original sale of the team out of administration.
  • Advising the leading British sportswear manufacturer Castore on multiple sponsorship and kit manufacturing deals with some of the biggest names in sport.
  • Advised Rogon on a complex termination arrangement opposite Crystal Palace in respect of the release of Max Meyer and his subsequent move to FC Köln.

Morgan Sports Law

A boutique sports arbitration and litigation firm, Morgan Sports Law is cited by one client for its ‘unrivalled record in achieving excellent results’. The team is hailed as ‘among the best choices for doping-related matters’, and is also ‘particularly strong for equestrian sports matters’. It is equipped to represent clients on a broad array of other matters within the football, rugby, boxing, basketball, cycling and athletics fields and runs a geographically broad caseload which has reached as far as China, the UAE and South Africa of late. Founding and managing partner Mike Morgan is regarded as 'the best in his field' and 'his submissions on doping related matters are known to be almost bulletproof.' Richard Martin fronts a dedicated science unit, uniquely geared for science-heavy doping disputes. Senior associate Donna Bartley earns praise for being ‘hugely committed' to her clients and going 'the extra yard' for them.

Practice head(s):

Mike Morgan; Lisa Lazarus; Richard Martin; William Sternheimer

Other key lawyers:

Donna Bartley


‘Very thorough. They understand the unique challenges faced by our organisation and our members and go to any length to gain knowledge and understanding where it is required.’

‘The team worked tirelessly for me to get the outcome they felt was best. They were honest supportive throughout the whole process. They communicated with from start to finish and kept me up to date on what was going on.’

‘The knowledge that the firm has about cases dealing with our sport’s rules and regulation is truly unparalleled. Furthermore, the diligence and care with which they dealt with me throughout the case, as well as the attention to detail when dealing with the sensitive issues was second to none.’

‘Morgan Sports Law is the leading firm with an unrivalled record in achieving excellent results for sportspersons, particularly in anti-doping disputes. They are very much the go to firm in this area, and act for all top sportspersons when they require expert advice and assistance at a crucial moment in their career. I would not recommend anyone else for an issue like this.’

‘Mike Morgan is the leading lawyer in this field and is most trusted to deliver results when it matters. Donna Bartley is a leading associate in this field.’

‘One of the best firms in sports arbitration. Very high knowledge in anti-doping matters and other sports disputes.’

‘Mike Morgan: great lawyer, very knowledgeable, definitively one of the best practitioners in the field of sports.’

‘Mike Morgan is the best in his field. Meticulous and extremely precise, his submissions on doping related matters are known to be almost bulletproof. He has a vast knowledge on all the jurisprudence in doping matters and he is able to give the best response to any problem.’

‘We engage Mike Morgan and Richard Martin. They provide clear, unambiguous advice. They spend time to know the client and the client’s specific requirements.’

Key clients

Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPRO)

Mamadou Sakho


Tyson Fury

Dillian Whyte

Equestrian Canada

United Arab Emirates Equestrian and Racing Federation

Dalian Professional Football Club

Pacific Rugby Players Welfare C.I.C.

Ligue de Football Professionnel du Cameroun

South African Equestrian Federation

World Equestrian Center Ocala

Scottish Football Association

Al Wathba Stables

Royal Endurance Team of Bahrain

National Equestrian League (US)

A representative group of 33 Russian athletes in the WADA/Russia dispute

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented footballer Mamadou Sakho and MS Top (Sakho’s image rights company) in relation to their negligence and defamation claims against the World Anti-Doping Agency.
  • Successfully represented a representative group of 33 Russian Olympic Athletes intervening in Court of Arbitration for Sport proceedings between the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (concerning Russia’s participation in major sports events over the next four years, including the 2020 and 2022 Olympic Games).
  • Successfully acted for the United Arab Emirates Equestrian and Racing Federation in overturning the Fédération Equestre Internationale Board’s decision, on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Muckle LLP

Based in Newcastle, Muckle LLP notably provides full-service advice to a number of national governing bodies including The FA, Sport England and England Athletics. The team is especially active in terms of regulatory, disciplinary and contentious matters and also supports several prominent football clubs on contractual, transfer, image right and agency issues. John Devine, cited for his ‘strong client management’, fronts the offering and is able to leverage broad sector expertise, having advised over 130 professional clubs from sports as diverse as football, rugby union, rugby league, cricket, basketball and ice hockey.

Practice head(s):

John Devine

Other key lawyers:

Tony McPhillips; George Festing


‘John Devine’s client management is strong and the ability to signpost us and connect us to specialists within their team is good. Friendly, customer centric, quick and responsive.’

‘They are responsive, offer practically applicable advice, and demonstrate an understanding of our business.’

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

Work highlights

  • Advising The Football Association on the £200m national charitable facilities Parklife project, now managed by The Football Foundation.
  • Retained as sole legal adviser to England Athletics, the national governing body of the sport of athletics.
  • Retained as sole legal adviser to Caribbean Premier League (CPL), a major international televised club cricket competition.


RPC fields an ‘excellent team headed by the talented and charming' Jeremy Drew; his work includes disputes, licensing and sponsorship deals, gaming and epsorts, regulatory and sports retail matters, principally due to his longstanding representation of Sports Direct. The wider team is also adept in sports data and content matters, including contentious issues, and is also engaged on branding, IP and tax-related mandates. The ‘brilliantJosh Charalambous serves as associate lead for the group and has already carved out a track record in prominent disputes including claims relating to football kit supply, sport database rights and football transfers.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Drew

Other key lawyers:

Josh Charalambous; Oliver Bray; Adam Craggs; Michelle Sloane; David Cran


‘The team is efficient and shows excellent judgement. They are very good at managing long-running, complex litigation and anticipating how decisions may affect the position months or years later.’

‘Their uniqueness was the understanding of the client – a professional sportsperson – and the way in which they tailored how they went about dealing with him in a very personal way’

‘Josh Charalambous was brilliant. Personable in a sphere where that is not a standout – he showed real understanding of the player and what he did which brought about an immediate connection.’

‘Josh Charalambous has ability beyond his years and is a very safe pair of hands to take responsibility for the detail.’

‘David Cran is the complete package, easy to work with, responsive, authoritative and completely reliable. Josh Charalambous is a standout at the junior level who has everything you want in a litigation lawyer.’

‘An excellent team headed by the talented and charming Jeremy Drew who offers important strategic insight.’

‘Josh Charalambous has excellent judgement, both commercially and as to what will matter in court.’

Key clients

Sport England

Simon Kerrod (Harlequins FC)

Newcastle United Football Club


Sports Direct


Andy Carroll (former Newcastle United FC footballer)


Mike Ashley

England Lacrosse

GAME Retail

Work highlights

  • Acted for Harlequins player Simon Kerrod in proceedings brought by the RFU against 12 Barbarians’ players relating to the breach of Covid-19 regulations.
  • Acting for Soft Construct in relation to High Court proceedings brought by Genius Sports concerning live sports data.
  • Advising Game Digital in relation to the sale of the gaming arena BELONG brand to US esports business Vindex.

Walker Morris LLP

Based in Leeds, Walker Morris LLP is ‘brilliant on club acquisitions’, ‘very good on M&A’ and ‘a leading firm for football disputes and advice’. Its non-contentious knowhow also extends to sponsorship deals, commercial partnerships, player and management contracts, transfer agreements and brand protection. David Hinchliffe, hailed as ‘first choice for many clubs’, has overseen upwards of 40 football club transactions throughout his career; his team also provides an extensive contentious offering which covers disputes, arbitrations, regulatory matters and disciplinary hearings. Senior associate Katie Reed notably counts nine of the 20 Premier League teams for the 2020-21 season among her client list.

Practice head(s):

David Hinchliffe

Other key lawyers:

Katie Reed; Jeremy Moore


‘Brilliant on club acquisitions.’

‘David Hinchcliffe is superb.’

‘Walker Morris is one of the leading firms in the country for any football dispute or advice.’

‘David Hinchliffe has deep experiences and expertise in the football sector making him and his team the first choice for many clubs.’

‘Very good on mergers and acquisitions, especially football clubs. Strong team offering swift service.’

‘David Hinchliffe is streetwise, hardworking and a problem solver.’

Key clients

Swansea City FC

Fulham FC

Burnley FC

Crystal Palace FC

AFC Bournemouth

Reading FC

Sunderland AFC

Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Nottingham Forest FC

Scunthorpe United FC

Sheffield United FC

Work highlights

  • Instructed by administrators Begbies Traynor to appeal to the EFL Arbitration Panel against the sporting sanction (a deduction of 12 points) imposed by the EFL on Wigan Athletic as a result of the club entering into administration.
  • Acted for South Shields in their FA Rule K arbitration proceedings against The Football Association in respect of the FA’s decision to curtail the 2019-20 non-league football season in March 2019 for all leagues from step 3 down and expunge that season’s results as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Acted as lead sell side advisers on the sale of 83.97% of the shares in the holding company of Burnley Football & Athletic Company Limited (the entity holding a share in the Premier League) to a consortium put together by ALK Capital, LLC.

Armstrong Teasdale

US firm Armstrong Teasdale moved into the UK market with the acquisition of Kerman & Co in February 2021. The firm's London sports team provides an ‘excellent blend of commercial awareness and in-depth sports sector knowledge’. A key point of differentiation for the practice is its expertise in ticketing affairs which has seen it drawn in by governing and event bodies to oversee development on legislation targeting ticket touting. Zane Shihab, known for his ‘quick, clear and useful advice’, fronts the department and is also reputed within the market for his sponsorship, broadcasting, image rights and venue agreement expertise. James Thorndyke is the key name for contentious matters, particularly regulatory and disciplinary issues, and is ‘tireless in getting the right results’. Nick Bitel, the chief executive of the London Marathon and former chair of Sport England, serves as a consultant to the firm.

Practice head(s):

Zane Shihab

Other key lawyers:

James Thorndyke; Nick Bitel; Emma Shaw


‘An excellent blend of commercial awareness and in-depth knowledge of the sports sector.’

‘I have worked with James Thorndyke on ticketing matters and he is tireless in getting the right result for his client.’

‘The Armstrong Teasdale team is a very well established outfit with some first-class clients. They provide a very nimble and efficient service.’

‘The particular team of senior James Thorndyke and junior Emma Shaw are excellent: showing great legal acumen and attention to detail, as well as outstanding commercial sense.’

‘James Thorndyke is very personable, good with clients, and very commercial in his outlook.’

‘The team go above and beyond to help with providing good and efficient legal advice. The practice has provided bespoke training on occasions which has been very useful.’

‘Zane Shihab in particular provides quick, clear and useful legal support across a range of commercial and sporting matters.’

Key clients

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

Union des Associations Europeennes de Football (UEFA)

London Marathon Events Limited

Rugby Football Union (RFU)

London & Surrey Cycling Partnership (known as RideLondon)

World Marathon Majors

Welsh Rugby Union

Racehorse Owners Association

W Series

Pit Stop Brand Consultancy Limited

Miss World Limited

Horsemen Limited

Truvis Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the All England Lawn Tennis Club on the implications of the cancellation of Wimbledon, both pre- and post-abandonment.
  • Supporting UEFA on a number of matters in respect of the hosting of Euro 2020, including advising on the ticketing terms and conditions and obtaining/coordinating advice across Europe, drafting and negotiating circa 50 hospitality and concessionaires agreements relating to the stadia across Europe and advising on, and drafting the Covid-19 codes of conduct relation to players, officials, accredited persons and spectators.
  • Advising Michael Gott, founding partner of Profile Partner, a market leading agency that buys and sells sports rights, on litigation concerning his exclusion from the company.

Bates Wells

London firm Bates Wells is acclaimed for its capacity to ‘convey and overcome complex legal issues in an easy, streamlined manner’. Department lead Thea Longley is an ‘excellent critical thinker’ with a track record in governance reviews, restructurings, contractual and funding matters; her team includes Jane Lougher who uniquely specialises in grants and loans to improve grassroots facilities, as well as Robert Oakley who is the go-to for contentious matters, particularly funding and contractual disputes. The team, which also includes immigration expert Chetal Patel, counts football and grassroots clubs, national governing bodies, sportspeople among its clients, and, in line with the firm's wider sector expertise, is extremely active in the charities field.

Practice head(s):

Thea Longley

Other key lawyers:

Jane Lougher; Robert Oakley; Chetal Patel; Rebecca Rider


‘The team is reliable, with excellent advice in our specific sub-sector that our in-house legal team cannot provide.’

‘Thea Longley is an excellent critical thinker, able to spot potential problems and issues before they occur and helps you to work through those issues if necessary. She gives options as to how best to proceed, not settling on one fixed option unless that is the only way, and it never is! I have worked with Thea as a charity board member too and her advice is consistently reliable. She is rightly seen as an expert in the field and I would not want to ever not have her available to us.’

‘The team at Bates Wells are brilliant. They are friendly and approachable but also, most importantly, are able to convey and overcome complex legal issues in in an easy, streamlined manner. They are always quick to respond, efficient and approach the work we ask them to do with professionalism.’

‘I find our main contacts very easy to work with. They always respond quickly and comprehensively. They have excellent knowledge in their field and are quick to understand any issues we encounter. Their friendly and approachable manner also helps make them our preferred choice in this area.’

‘The team are extremely knowledgeable, diligent and thorough. The quality of service that they provide is very high, and no matter the challenge, I always feel reassured by the approach that they are taking.’

‘Jane Lougher is extremely knowledgeable, professional and patient in her approach – particularly when dealing with non-legal clients. She endeavours to ensure that complex matters are broken down into manageable, understandable components, and the implications of any decision are always clearly explained.’

‘Rebecca Rider has always provide an extremely high level of customer service, being prepared to go the extra mile to achieve the desired outcome, despite the tight timescales that she is often faced with.’

Key clients

Football Foundation

England and Wales Cricket Board

England and Wales Cricket Trust

Rugby Football Union

Albion in the Community

Lawn Tennis Association

Amateur Swimming Association (Swim England)

Commonwealth Games Federation

Work highlights

  • Working with the Football Foundation in connection with their grant investment into a multimillion-pound community hub in Newcastle which will be the new home of the Newcastle United Foundation.
  • Working with The National League Trust (the charitable arm of football’s National League) to offer advice to clubs in the National League on setting up charitable foundations.
  • Advised the England and Wales Cricket Trust on an emergency loan scheme arising from Covid-19 related financial issues faced by clubs.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Recommended for its ‘extensive and broad experience in sports law’, international firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP hones its attention on finance, litigation and arbitration, transfer and commercial agreement matters in addition to real estate affairs at stadia and venues. The practice has also been extremely active in terms of advising sports clubs and organisations of Covid-19-related frustration, employment, insolvency and force majeure considerations. The team is headed by the well-connected Graham Shear, hailed as ‘one of the most experienced sports litigators in the country’.

Practice head(s):

Graham Shear

Other key lawyers:

Marcus Pearl; Marc Trottier; Sarah McAtominey


‘I personally work with Marc Trottier and Graham Shear. Working with them gives confidence both to our clients and our firm. We just know we are in the best hands to do business in the UK market.’

‘BCLP have an extensive and broad experience in sports law and, in particular, commercial issues arising in football.’

‘Graham Shear is one of the most experienced sports litigators in the county and the leading expert in commercial disputes in football’

‘The team has an outstanding knowledge of the sport industry.’

‘Marc Trottier always provides an immediate and highly professional response. He understands the keys of our business.’

‘Working with BCLP is really easy. They adapt to the circumstances and assist the client on any matter required. They provide an excellent quality service. Perfect guys to help our clients to do business in the UK.’

Key clients

West Ham Football Club

Nike Inc.

The FA


Rights & Media Funding Limited


Ingesport SA

G.I. Sportz Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Rights & Media Funding Limited as the sole lender of €67m to 11 La Liga football clubs, in one of the largest transactions in European football.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

A ‘forward-thinking team’ with lawyers spread across Manchester, London and Bristol, DAC Beachcroft LLP's practice is co-led by disputes partner Jan Levinson; he is a leading name for sports injury matters and is also engaged on sponsorship, commercial agreements, disciplinary and regulatory disputes, including those with a cross-border element. Bilal Mirza, an ‘innovative and impressive leader’ is the other co-head and ‘knows sports-related insurance policies and claims inside-out’. IP lawyer Andrew Allan-Jones frequently assists with sponsorship agreements while commercial lawyer Tim Ryan is the key contact for merchandising, funding, joint venture, ticketing and hospitality affairs.

Practice head(s):

Jan Levinson; Bilal Mirza

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Allan-Jones; Tim Ryan; Liam O’Connell; Harald Loeffler; Richard Rowe


‘A forward-thinking team lead by Bilal Mirza.’

‘Bilal Mirza is an innovative and impressive leader of the team. Richard Rowe is a motorsport specialist; he acts for defendants and is the go-to solicitor in this field.’

‘Jan Levinson and his team are tenacious, diligent, and work to create innovative solutions to complex problems.’

‘Jan Levinson is a bulldog with a mild manner.’

‘Bilal Mirza is the only lawyer I have encountered who knows insurance policies and claims inside out in the sports sector.’

Key clients

Manchester United Limited

Joshua Murray (ex-Manchester City FC)

Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Lincoln City Football Club


Zurich and its insured bowls club

Sport Ireland

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (“IHRB”)

Zurich and its insured golf club

Work highlights

  • Acting for Manchester United (a longstanding client) on a number of licensing matters including recently advising them of the impact of Covid.
  • Acted for a Manchester City youth player who suffered a career ending injury in his debut match for England. The claim involved a series of complex issues and was settled on confidential terms.
  • Advised Sport Ireland on the development and drafting of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules which have been used by World Anti-Doping Agency as the basis for its Model Rules for National Anti-Doping Organisations.

Fladgate LLP

London firm Fladgate LLP works with clients including athletes, teams, sponsors and agents in addition to organising and governing bodies. James Earl is head of the commercial, sports and IP team.

Practice head(s):

James Earl

Fletcher Sports Law

Manchester-based boutique Fletcher Sports Law is praised for its ‘in-depth football industry knowledge’- the firm represents some of the Premier League's highest profile players, including Harry Kane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Practice head Paul Fletcher, recommended as ‘one of the UK’s leading sports lawyers’ also represents football agents, intermediaries, clubs and brands, advising on transfers, endorsement agreements and disputes in addition to regulatory and contractual affairs. Beyond football, the practice continues to grow its boxing practice, as evident by its ongoing representation of Josh Taylor, and is also active in rugby, cricket, gold and tennis, among other sports.

Practice head(s):

Paul Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

Tom Grant


‘Genuine and deep sector experience and knowledge.’

‘Paul Fletcher has worked with us for many years on on various legal issues and we will continue to use his services in the future. His services have been invaluable to us and our company.’

‘A niche sports law practice with in-depth football industry knowledge.’

‘Paul Fletcher is one of the UK’s leading sports lawyers experienced in commercial issues in football, especially involving image rights, football transfers and agents.’

Key clients

England Men’s Football Team

Adrian Lewis

Harry Kane

Josh Taylor

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Alexis Sanchez

Ovie Soko

Giovani Lo Celso

Luke Campbell

James Maddison

Work highlights

  • Currently 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 his first world title defence against Apinum Khongsong.
  • Advised (and continues to advise) Tottenham and England captain, Harry Kane, on a number of high-profile endorsement agreements over the past 12 months, including Cadbury, Hugo Boss and Samsung.


McCormicks takes its name from football industry heavyweight and founding partner Peter McCormick, ‘one of the godfathers of sports law’. Among many other standout accolades, in November 2020 he stepped in as interim chairman of the FA; his practice spans regulatory, disciplinary, reputation management and defamation affairs. The department is also led by Philip Edmondson, a disputes specialist who was recently appointed as a non-executive director to the Board of British Weight Lifting, as well as James Towler who oversees the group's corporate and commercial activities, covering disposals, acquisitions, group reorganisations.

Practice head(s):

Peter McCormick; James Towler; Philip Edmondson

Other key lawyers:

Heather Roberts


‘Peter McCormick is considered one of the best in the sector. We have used this firm in a variety of areas from board level to advising on furlough and employment matters. They have great contacts within the industry and such commercial acumen. They guide you through matters with ease.’

‘Industry leading football and sports lawyers. Good value for money. Commercial and collaborative with practical advice.’

‘Peter McCormick is the best football lawyer in the UK.’

‘Peter McCormick: one of the godfathers of sports law, hugely well known in football.’

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

Harrogate Town AFC

Walsall FC

McLaren Formula One

Otley RUFC

Leeds Rhinos RLFC

Yorkshire County Cricket Club

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

  • For The Premier League, continuing to handle the due diligence and approvals process in applying the Owners’ and Directors’ Test when a proposed takeover of a club or acquisition of a significant interest in a club is to take place. The team has advised on the acquisitions or abortive acquisitions of Crystal Palace, Everton, Burnley, Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton.
  • Represented Leeds United FC and its manager Marcelo Bielsa in relation to investigations and eventual charges brought by the FA and EFL respectively.
  • Retained as solicitors to Norwich City FC. Matters have included employment advice, in particular with regard to settlement agreements in respect of the termination of employment of senior members of staff and their replacements.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is ‘strong across the board in sport, from commercial and employment through to regulatory matters’. Football is a keystone of the practice, which notably represents the League Managers Association, individual managers, players and intermediaries on the full gamut of relevant matters including contractual disputes and reputation management. Practice head Andrew Haywood is also a veteran of many disciplinary, discrimination and business protection mandates and oversees a team which directs the remainder of its sector-specific emphasis towards sailing and yacht races, motor sports, esports and the representation of young athletes, including several Team GB athletes and Paralympic hopefuls.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Haywood

Other key lawyers:

Richard Marshall; Nick Humphreys; James Severn; Jeremy Clarke-Williams; Sarah Allan; Oliver Cooke


 ‘I have worked principally with Nick Humphreys. He is immersed in the industry so that his advice covers all bases and not merely those that relate to litigation.’

Nick Humphreys may be the hardest-working lawyer in Western Europe. I have seen him handle effectively workloads that would crush an ordinary lawyer. Nothing is too much for a client to ask. He is there when you need him and delivers when he is asked to. He is exceptional.’

‘A team strong across the board in sport from commercial and employment through to regulatory matters. A go-to firm, which is making a big impact in the market place.’

‘Nick Humphries is astute, gets results and is a – if not the – leading figure in sports disputes with an employment law angle.’

‘James Severn has excellent international connections, with particular strength in arbitrations in sport. Richard Marshall is a commercial dispute resolution partner with specialist niche in sporting sector. Andrew Heywood is an employment law specialist who has carved out a niche in sporting disputes.’

‘The team is very adept at client management, and this is reflected by the high calibre of its clients in the sporting industry.  The team is very commercially minded, and places real emphasis on achieving a satisfactory commercial outcome, instead of getting wrapped up in unwanted litigation.’

‘Richard Marshall is a brilliant tactical lawyer, who brings a high degree of commercial acumen to his cases.’

‘Richard Marshall is very experienced and always great to work with. Oliver Cooke is very bright and accessible.’

Key clients

League Managers Association

Mahindra Racing UK Limited

Nigel Pearson (football manager – ex Leicester City and Watford)

Gordon Murray Group

George Bates – Team GB Wheelchair Basketball Player

Grey Sports Group

Toca Football UK Ltd

Dave Richardson

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented football manager Nigel Pearson in a libel case against Leicestershire Live, resulting in a published apology and paid damages.
  • Advised a Team GB wheelchair basketball player in an appeal against the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s change of its classification process, which resulted in the player being ineligible to represent GB at the Tokyo Paralympics.
  • Acting on behalf of racing car designer Gordon Murray Group on the acquisition of the site for its new global HQ in Windlesham, Surrey.

Russells Solicitors

Russells Solicitors acts for sports managements agencies, agents, clubs and major bodies, though predominantly focuses on individual athlete representation, supporting star names on everything from private client advice and employment through to media agreements, sponsorship, regulatory disputes and disciplinary hearings. Practice head Steven Tregear is a litigator with a prominent track record in contentious contractual, copyright, defamation and privacy matters and a principal focus on football and boxing.

Practice head(s):

Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:

John Reid


‘The individuals I had the chance to work with were very competent and professional.’

Key clients

Various Premier League clubs: Arsenal, Burnley, Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Tottenham and Wolverhampton Wanderers

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

Work highlights

  • Representing nine Premier League football clubs in making an intervention to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in connection with Manchester City’s ban from the Champions League by UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) – for alleged serious breaches of its financial regulations.
  • Acting successfully for Mark Sampson, Stevenage FC’s assistant manager and first-team coach, in a two-day FA misconduct hearing before an independent commission concerning alleged racist comments attributed to him by Stevenage FC’s former manager Dino Maamria and goalkeeping coach Ali Uzunhasanoglu.
  • Advising talent management agency TaP Sports & Entertainment Limited on the establishment of a new joint venture athlete and sports management business.

Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May's sports team is led by by corporate, commercial and finance specialist Andrew Jolly. Examples of the team’s track record including advising INEOS on the acquisition of French football club OGC Nice, supporting Arsenal on the public takeover offer by KSE and more recently, advising AS Roma on the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Jolly

TSC Legal

Specialist London firm TSC Legal is integrated with marketing and consulting agency, The Sports Consultancy, and excels a number of fronts, namely sponsorship and sports marketing, governance and integrity, media rights and player data affairs. Practice head Andy Korman is a standout due to his niche experience in major event bidding and hosting whereas David Becker is uniquely positioned to support on cricketing matters owing to his former position as head of legal for the International Cricket Council.

Practice head(s):

Andy Korman

Other key lawyers:

David Becker; Robert Jones

Key clients

Match in Africa: Federer v Nadal

Kalas Sportswear

UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale)

FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball)


IBU (International Biathlon Union)


Suleyman Mikayilov, president of the Azerbaijan Boxing Association

USAW / Ursula Papandrea

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Antoine Rozner

Lee Westwood

Abu Dhabi Cricket

Benchmark Sport

Expat Sport

Christian Pulisic

Work highlights

  • Instructed by a major football governing body to review a football club’s commercial arrangements in the context of financial fair play.
  • Instructed by UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) to draft the hosting agreement for the Cycling World Championships 2027.
  • Drafting and negotiating hosting terms with multiple cities bidding to host a Race in SailGP Series 2.

Wiggin LLP

The sport group at specialist media, technology and IP firm Wiggin LLP is led by Ross Sylvester, an ‘excellent, commercially focused’ practitioner who advises broadcasters, organisations, rights holders and platform aggregators on the acquisition and exploitation of audio-visual, data and media rights. Sarah MacDonald provides clients with merchandising, sponsorship and brand licensing proficiency, while the firm has also added significant ‘breadth, depth and experience’ in the field of esports with its November 2020 acquisition of specialist firm Purewal & Partners. That firm's founding partner, Jas Purewal, is now a consultant to the firm.

Practice head(s):

Ross Sylvester

Other key lawyers:

Sarah MacDonald; Jas Purewal; Sean James


‘The team offers a quality of legal expertise and service which matches their London-based peers whilst also representing great value for money. Willingness to be flexible in order to meet their clients’ needs.’

‘Ross Sylvester is an excellent lawyer with a great breadth of knowledge and experience across multiple facets of the sport, media and telecoms world. Conscientious, friendly and client-orientated, he has the rare ability to work well with lawyers and non-lawyers alike.’

‘Sean James is a hugely experienced, hard-working and thoughtful lawyer with a keenly commercial approach. Very enjoyable to work with, provides a safe pair of hands on any matter and adds real value.’

‘They have a breadth and depth of skills and experience in the eSports and eGaming sectors.’

Key clients

DAZN Group

Manchester United / MUTV

Racecourse Media Group

Premiership Rugby

Fulwell 73

FootballCo Media (operator of Goal website)

STATS Perform

Flutter Group (including PokerStars and FOX Bet)

Virgin Media

Digital Sports Mgmt

Work highlights

  • Acting for Vodafone in its deal to become the lead partner of the British and Irish Lions for the 2021 Tour of South Africa.
  • Providing an in-sourced legal team function for DAZN in respect of numerous media rights deals for live rights for inclusion on the DAZN OTT service.
  • Leading negotiations and drafting of the sponsorship arrangements between Premiership Rugby and The Famous Grouse.

Shoosmiths LLP

Manchester-based Richard Millington helms the sports offering at Shoosmiths LLP, specialising in sponsorship, content and broadcast deals, joint ventures and disputes, among other matters. Anastasia Fowle‘s work spans commercial agreements and corporate transactions, reputation management; she is also a go-to for regulatory and driver contracts in the motorsport sector and was recently appointed as the first non-driver director of the F1 Grand Prix Drivers Association.

Practice head(s):

Richard Millington

Other key lawyers:

Anastasia Fowle; Hamish Corner


‘Unlike many other law firms, Shoosmiths are very commercially focused rather than simply focusing on the legal detail which is not important to securing the overall deal.’

‘Richard Millington is an outstanding lawyer who knows his subject and is super commercial. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.’

Key clients

City Football Group (Manchester City FC)

The Football Association

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Federation of Sports and Play

Simon Corney

Hampshire County Cricket Club

Association of Sporting Directors

The Football Pools

Certain Burnley FC shareholders

Angel Gomes (Man Utd player)


Work highlights

  • Instructed to advise sports betting business The Football Pools on key changes to its business operations in light of COVID-19.
  • Working closely with the F1 Grand Prix Drivers’ Association to provide strategic advice on various matters, ranging from use of biometric data, alcohol testing regulation, WADA matters, safety issues, commercial matters and issues affecting the drivers.
  • Serving as lead advisors to the Association of Sporting Directors, the professional body of sporting directors in football.


Noted for its ‘wide range of experience in dealing with all types of sports’, the team Clintons has expertise in a broad breadth of matters. The group is engaged on a broad array of contractual and disputes matters including sponsorship, endorsement and broadcast agreements, and also handles an array of corporate support and private client services for organisations and individual athletes alike. Litigator Karim Bouzidi frequently supports on regulatory and disciplinary proceedings. Mel Stein, an industry veteran who represented high-profile sporting names such as Alan Shearer, Chris Waddle and Paul Gascoigne, sadly passed away in August 2022.

Other key lawyers:

Karim Bouzidi; Stephen Joelson


‘Clintons have a wide range of experience dealing with all types of sports and give you the confidence that they are able to deal with your issues, whatever they maybe.’

Key clients

Association of Football Agents (UK) Limited

The National League

Swimathon Foundation

Sportquake Limited

Didier Drogba Foundation

The Sports PR Company

Joey Barton

Barnet Football Club

Work highlights

  • Advising The National League on the multi-faceted impact of the pandemic on the league and their member clubs.
  • Acting for football agent Scott Smith in relation to commercial contracts with Premier League footballers and representation contracts.
  • Advising celebrity mountaineer Nirmal Purja in relation to his sponsorship agreements.


The team at Dentons , which is able to draw on the wider firm's extensive international footprint, is led by Richard Barham, who is instructed on a wealth of cross-border M&A and financing deals in addition to matters concerning league structures, corporate governance and event bidding. The wider team is also well-regarded for its proficiency in broadcasting and media right sales, disputes, stadium planning and construction, as well as commercial agreements such as sponsorship and partner deals. Motorsport and rugby-related matters are particularly prevalent within the recent workload and the group is also home to long-standing expertise in football.

Practice head(s):

Richard Barham

Other key lawyers:

James Fairbairn; David McGrory; Chris White; Nick Harrison


‘Commercially-minded advice, offering not just the letter of the law options but risk based real world solutions too.’

‘Really quick turnaround times – they really invest in the client to get to know their needs.’

‘Nick Harrison is really great with getting to know the needs of clients.’

Key clients

St James Holdings (owner of Newcastle United)

Silverstone Circuits Limited

Saracens (Premier Team Promotions)

Scottish Cycling

Esports Awards Limited

Major Chinese Port

Hibernian Football Club

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1

Basketball Entertainment Partners Ltd

Falkirk Football & Athletic Club Limited

Work highlights

  • Supporting Saracens with day-to-day commercial legal matters, ranging from the drafting and negotiation of sponsorship and partnership agreements to advising on potential disputes.
  • Advising St James Holdings Limited on the potential sale of Newcastle United Football Club.

Hamlins LLP

Clients recommend Hamlins LLP for its ‘notable strength in the establishment and operation of sports leagues’; the team has a strong focus on the structuring and launch of new events, initiatives and formats, across a wealth of sports, and is also reputed for its commercial, regulatory, doping, corporate, IP, privacy and reputation management capabilities. Practice head Matthew Pryke is a ‘valued source of market-specific knowledge’; he has a track record of having acted for some of England's most famous footballers. Other work encompasses broadcast and promotion agreements, sponsorships and player transfers.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Pryke

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Hutchings


‘Notable strength in establishing and operating sports leagues. Commercial, IP strengths also. They have a good network of international partner law firms that we can tap into. They always feel like they are willing to listen and flex to meet our business needs, not theirs.’

‘Matthew Pryke is a valued source of market-specific knowledge. He feels more like an extension of our in-house legal team rather than a transactional external lawyer.’

Key clients

Oracle Racing Inc.

SailGP GB Team

The English Cricket Board

366 Group Limited

Hasta World

Burhill Golf Group

La Liga Lowdown

Youth Sports Trust

David Garrido


DLG Media Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised SailGP on the negotiation of a partnership arrangement with America’s Cup Team INEOS to operate and race as a SailGP GB Team. This partnership arrangement involved Sir Ben Ainslie becoming the skipper of the race team.
  • Negotiated a deal on behalf of David Garrido, regarding strategic advice on broadcast arrangements and the commercial proposition for a new sporting and environmental concept, Planet Football.
  • Providing strategic advice to the senior executive of England Cricket in connection with the renegotiation of the central player contracts with the senior men’s and women’s cricket teams.

Latham & Watkins

US giant Latham & Watkins's sports practice is known for its ‘impressive track record and array of specialised knowledge’. The team’s focus has recently  focused on commercial, regulatory and contentious mandates in addition to the hosting of major events and high-value M&A and finance deals. The ‘well-connected and establishedPatrick Mitchell fronts the offering - he has notable proficiency in media and sponsorship agreements, sports technology, the expansion of digital and media services, as well as the establishment and monetisation of major events.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Ed Barnett


‘Impressive track record and an array of specialised knowledge. A highly motivated and efficient team that is fun to work with at the same time.’

‘Patrick Mitchell is well-connected and established in the sponsorship space and is an excellent negotiator.’

Key clients

Formula E


International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Dutch Formula One Grand Prix

Silver Lake Partners

Saudi Arabian Football Federation


Elite Sports Management



Buzzer Sports

Inter Milan

Work highlights

  • Advised Silver Lake Partners on its acquisition of a stake in City Football Group, the UK-based parent company of, among others, Manchester City Football Club, together with other investments in premium world sport.
  • Advised Teamviewer on sponsorship deals including becoming the new shirt sponsor of Manchester United and one of the leading sponsors of the World Championship winning Mercedes Formula 1 team.
  • Advised Formula E on various premium aspects of its operations, including media rights, sponsorship and team participation arrangements for the next generation of the increasingly popular world racing championship.

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Payne Hicks Beach LLP’s sports practice is helmed by Jonathan Gatward, a specialist in image rights and social media rights issues who is also exceptionally well-versed in sailing matters. On the contentious front, Dominic Crossley is principally active in the Formula 1 field, though also represents footballers, rugby players and cricketers in defamation and privacy disputes. The other key partner in the team is Hanna Basha, an expert in boxing-related disciplinary, sponsorship and broadcast matters who has also advised several major footballers and clubs on defamation and privacy affairs; she is often supported by senior associate Nick Grant who is 'very thorough and a calming influence on any case'.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Gatward

Other key lawyers:

Hanna Basha; Dominic Crossley; Nick Grant


‘Each individual with whom we deal demonstrates a very significant care in the tasks that are undertaken and are clearly always at the top in terms of their knowledge and response.’

‘Jonathan Gatward is always outstandingly calm and personable and very much cares about us.’

‘Payne Hicks Beach is a very strong team which is very experienced in assisting high profile individuals with media disputes. One of the top firms in this area, which delivers excellent results for an impressive client list. ‘

‘Hanna Basha is one of the leading and most experienced litigators in this field, with excellent clients and great results. Nick Grant is a leading associate who is great with clients, very thorough and a calming influence on any case.’

‘Exceptional knowledge and experience of disputes in boxing.’

‘Hannah Basha is one of the most experienced experts and litigators involved in disputes in boxing in England.’

Key clients

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Giles Scott

DNA Fit Life Sciences Limited

Pineapple Dance Studios

IIAA Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in respect of a range of matters, including sponsorship agreements with well-known sailing related brands, employment issues and intellectual property matters.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP possesses a ‘thorough knowledge of contentious, regulatory and disciplinary matters’ - the sports team is led by Matthew Bosworth, who routinely appears as an advocate before disciplinary and appeal tribunals. The practice also advises on the administration, governance and purchase of football clubs, anti-doping offences, child protection policies, sports-related immigration and a wealth of IP activities, including brand protection. A number of sporting organisations who wish to operate as charitable trusts call upon the group, as do Premier League clubs, high-profile athletes, institutions and governing bodies.

Practice head(s):

Matt Bosworth

Other key lawyers:

Peter Cadman


‘Peter Cadman is really outstanding in terms of his experience and ability to act in a range of disputes.’

‘Peter Cadman provides good judgement, is an excellent advocate and fights hard for his clients.’

‘They have a unique scope, assisting clubs on contracts, media issues including libel, arbitrations, regulatory matters and criminal investigations.’

‘Matt Bosworth is very switched on and streetwise, an indispensable and calm voice of reason when people are under stress.’

‘The team have a detailed understanding of my business area, it challenges and objectives.’

‘Matt Bosworth is an excellent practitioner with in depth sector knowledge. He has the detailed knowledge of both criminal and civil remedies to protect and grow my business.’

‘The firm has a thorough knowledge of contentious, regulatory and disciplinary matters in sport.’

‘Matt Bosworth is gaining in reputation each year.’

Key clients


Chelsea FC

British Fencing

Sport Resolutions UK

Surbiton Hockey Club

Barnes Rugby Football Club

Thames Ditton Cricket Club

Kick It Out

Work highlights

  • Acting in Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, County Court, Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court matters to protect Sky’s IP rights in relation to sports broadcasting/live sports broadcasts throughout Europe.
  • Instructed on an ongoing basis to represent Chelsea Football Club, officials and players in various matters throughout the year.
  • Advised equality and inclusion organisation Kick it Out on a £3m funding and collaboration deal with Sky.

Simons Muirhead Burton

At Simons Muirhead Burton, practice head Marc Sobol frequently advises on major sports media deals, leveraging over 20 years of in-house broadcasting experience. Stephen Shotnes offers contentious expertise, advising on regulatory and reputation management issues, while Simon Goldberg fronts the corporate and commercial offering, which covers major transactions, joint ventures, agreements, charitable endeavours and sponsorship matters. The client list includes athletes, agents, clubs and governing bodies from a broad array of sports, including football, rugby, squash and horseracing.

Practice head(s):

Marc Sobol

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Shotnes; Simon Goldberg

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

Carlos Brathwaite

Nujum Sports

Ravi Bopara

Work highlights

  • For ITV Plc, negotiating and drafting exclusive UK free-to-air media rights agreement for all UK horseracing from 2021-23.
  • Advising The Professional Squash Association on an investment from and strategic partnership with leading sports agency Infront.
  • Ongoing advice to European Professional Club Rugby relating to pay-TV and free-to-air sports broadcasting deals.

Solesbury Gay

Solesbury Gay is a sports and employment boutique which ‘combines decades of experience in big-ticket litigation with genuine in-depth knowledge of the sporting sector’. The practice is centred around the two name partners, Mark Gaya masterful tactician’ and Tom Solesbury, ‘a former Olympian who is an excellent technical lawyer and inspires client confidence’. Gay can draw on a wealth of expertise in governance issues and has a track record at the High Court, Court of Appeal and Court of Arbitration for Sports, while Solesbury - who represented Great Britain as part of the rowing team at the London and Beijing Olympic Games - is experienced in a range of matters with a client roster that spans national governing bodies, sporting leagues and charities and Formula One teams.

Practice head(s):

Mark Gay; Tom Solesbury


‘Both Mark Gay and Tom Solesbury are at the top of their game in sports law matters. The firm is an ideal choice for all sports law matters, with Tom Solesbury adding invaluable employment law expertise’

‘Mark Gay is one of the handful of true sports law specialists. Immensely experienced; there is nothing that Mark has not dealt with at some point. Instills huge confidence in clients. Tom Solesbury brings the experience of a top Olympic sportsman to his sports law practice, and is equally at home in the High Court or on sports employment matters in the employment tribunal. His client management skills are second to none.’

‘Mark Gay and Tom Solesbury are a formidable team which combines decades of experience of big-ticket litigation with genuine in-depth knowledge of the sporting sector.’

‘Mark Gay is a master tactician who, beneath the charm, has a steely determination to get the right result for the client. Tom Solesbury is a former Olympian who is an excellent technical lawyer and inspires confidence in his clients.’

‘Mark Gay and Tom Solesbury are without question a premier boutique sports law firm. There are few people who have as much knowledge and experience of sports law as Mark. Tom is not only a former double Olympian athlete (with unparalleled person experience of sports at the sharp end), but an exceptionally talented lawyer.’

Top sport boutique firm able to handle the most complex high profile cases. Excellent knowledge of sport.’

‘A firm with excellent personal skills and attention to the clients needs. High degree of attention to detail and all work delivered ahead of deadlines and with the right balance between legal advice and assessing the risk associated with various options.’

‘Tom Solebury’s knowledge and style provide confidence in decision making and ensures that open and honest conversations are easy. His awareness of the environment and consequences (known and unknown) allow for well informed decision. Great guy to work with and someone I would highly recommend.’

Key clients

The English Football League

Racing Point F1 Team

British Rowing

Qatar Table Tennis Association

Mr Khalil Al-Mohannadi, Deputy President of the International Table Tennis Federation

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for The English Football League in extensive and high profile disciplinary proceedings against Sheffield Wednesday FC for a breach of the EFL’s new Profitability & Sustainability Rules.
  • Acted for The English Football League in disciplinary proceedings against Derby County FC for breach of the P&S Rules.
  • Acted for the Racing Point F1 Team in an arbitration claim in the International Chamber of Commerce brought by Haas Formula LLC.

Winston & Strawn LLP

US firm Winston & Strawn LLP continues to develop its sports practice in the UK and across Europe, with particular emphasis on finance, corporate, competition, governance and athlete rights matters. A key distinguisher for the firm is its alliance with the British Athletes’ Commission which sees it engaged for an array of athlete welfare, performance development, funding, selection, classification and agreement mandates. Peter Crowther, an ‘always available and well-researched ’ competition specialist, fronts the practice and also serves as managing partner of the firms' London and Brussels offices.

Practice head(s):

Peter Crowther

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Hatfield


‘Strong understanding of sport while providing invaluable insight and learnings.’

‘Peter Crowther is always available and provides strong, well-researched advice.’

Key clients

British Athletes’ Commission

General American Capital Partners (GACP) / Bordeaux Football Club

Blake Leeper

Professional Footballers’ Association

Work highlights

  • Provide ongoing legal advice to the British Athletes’ Commission in relation to various issues affecting the elite-level athletes represented by the BAC including high-profile duty of care in sport issues, selection issues, doping allegations and the ability of Olympic athletes to commercialise their performance.
  • Continues to advise the Professional Footballer’s Association in its ongoing efforts to implement a restructuring in a manner which ensures the confidence of the public and its members in its processes, in compliance with its revised rules and applicable trade union legislation. The team is also advising the PFA on competition matters related to restrictions on football clubs imposed by the EFL.
  • Representing Blake Leeper, the American double-amputee track-and-field athlete, in an appeal from the Court of Arbitration for Sport in connection with 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

The key names within Burges Salmon LLP’s ‘excellent, practical and commercial’ sports team operate from Bristol and are principally focused on horse racing, football and motorsport. The keystone of the practice is its regulatory work, covering drafting, constitutional, governance and anti-doping affairs, though the group has also made significant strides of late in terms of its brand management offering. Jeremy Dickerson fronts the department, calling upon his vast experience in sponsorship, merchandising, advertising, media and internet issues.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Dickerson

Other key lawyers:

Helen Scott-Lawler


‘Excellent practical and commercial advice.’

‘Very responsible and happy to help. Jeremy Dickerson is a pleasure to deal with.’

Key clients

The Racecourse Association

Racecourse Technical Services Limited

Scottish Premier Football League

Work highlights

  • Provided ongoing advice to the Racecourse Association throughout the early stages of lockdown (when racing was thrown into disarray), through to the resumption of racing behind closed doors.
  • Continued to advise Racecourse Technical Services Limited in respect of a range of contractual arrangements for broadcast rights and related services in the horseracing sector.
  • Advised the Scottish Premier Football League on an ad hoc basis throughout the year (including in the early stages of lockdown when Scottish football was thrown into disarray), and taken over management of the client’s IP portfolio, with the most significant transaction over the year concerning SPFL’s lease at Hampden Park Stadium (the national stadium of football in Scotland).


At Fieldfisher, the cross-disciplinary sports practice is fronted by consultant Patrick Cannon, a funding and commercial specialist with expertise in motor racing, golf, rugby and football, among other sports.

Howard Kennedy LLP

Well regarded for its ‘very personal service’, a key distinguisher for Howard Kennedy LLP is its focus on player care and development; the sports practice advises on reputation and media management, drug testing, tax investigations and fraud allegations. Jointly led by Fiona Hinds, ‘an emerging star’, and Lois Langton, the team represents governing bodies, clubs, agencies and other sporting organisations in respect of their merchandising, endorsements, acquisitions and disposals, disputes, regulatory matters and corporate governance, with particular emphasis on football, boxing and gymnastics.

Practice head(s):

Lois Langton; Fiona Hinds


‘Really great fun to work with, offering strong technical skills – their advice always has a commercial focus. Their marketing events are some of the best, really creative, which reflects the approach of the firm.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable with a strong sector focus.’

‘The firm’s offering is first-rate in terms of experience, specialist insight and client care.’

‘Fiona Hinds is very experienced and insightful. An emerging star in this area.’

‘They offer a very personal service; the sort of care, dedication and attention that one would expect of a magic circle firm, without the price tag.’

Key clients

British Gymnastics Association Limited

Alexander (Sascha) Zverev

Work highlights

  • Acting for British Gymnastics Association Limited on a trademark dispute which relates to infringements of trademarks and passing off by the Defendants UK Gymnastics Limited and UK Gymnastics Affiliation Limited.
  • Successfully acted for professional tennis player Alexander (Sascha) Zverev in a dispute with his agent/manager, ACE Group International Ltd, concerning the validity and/or the enforceability of the professional representation contract that governs the relationship between them.

Keoghs LLP

Insurance-focused firm Keoghs LLP represents numerous football clubs, including several from The Premier League, in respect of sports and healthcare-related claims, reputational damage issues, sexual and racial abuse, disciplinary and regulatory proceedings. Sian Davies heads the practice, which counts rugby and equine issues as the other core pillars of its service.

Practice head(s):

Sian Davies

Other key lawyers:

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


‘Caroline Cowan is a pleasure to deal with. We first used Keoghs during lockdown and throughout that time, Caroline has been so helpful and understanding as to how we get the relevant information during such a difficult time. She has kept me up to date with all our cases and explained what was required of us in a clear and concise manner that I could pass onto other individuals with our company. I cannot recommend Caroline enough; she is an asset to the firm.’

‘Christopher Wilson is undoubtedly the rising star in this area of litigation. He has already been involved in numerous complex and high-profile matters, including at least two that have reached the Court of Appeal.  Never one to shirk hard work, his meticulous attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile in the interests of his clients is invaluable.’

Ian Carroll has a good understanding of the strategic and tactical considerations arising out of  group actions against Premier League clubs.’

‘We have been using Keoghs since 2020 and in that time I have found them to be a very professional and helpful organisation. Their staff are knowledgeable and have handled our cases with an excellent understanding of how we work as a sports club.’

‘The members of the Keoghs sports team are unique for their specialist experience and capability in this area and are at the forefront of the development of the law. They have wide-ranging sector expertise and the whole team have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of abuse in sport claims and how they are best dealt with. ‘

‘Ian Carroll stands out as a true technical expert. His work in difficult and sensitive areas is first-class as a result of his long experience of dealing with these matters and developing the law in this area. As well as his hard work, Ian stands out from his competitors because of his willingness to contribute to innovative ideas and challenge the status quo.’

‘Tenacious, thorough and very astute.”

‘Daniel Meltzer knows all there is to know and provides extremely well-judged advice.’

Key clients

Enstar Group Limited

Argo Group Limited

The Veterinary Defence Society

Work highlights

  • Advised on a claim by a Premier League club in relation to alleged negligent pre-transfer medical.      
  • Advising insurers as to policy and legal liability considerations and ramifications of concussions claims in sport.
  • Advising Premier League football clubs as to the importance of maintaining medical records within  the professional football arena,

Keystone Law

Keystone Law’s sports department was recently strengthened by the arrival of Jamie Horner, a ‘standout expert in the field of motorsports’ who notably serves as director of Arden and is a founding director of the Young Racing Driver Academy. Other key names include Rachel Flynn, a horseracing and breeding specialist, Paul Daniels, who possesses ‘a mass of experience in acting for football managers’, as well as Gerard Cukier whose expertise lies in defamation, privacy and sporting-related agreements.

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Flynn; Paul Daniels; Gerard Cukier; Jamie Horner; Paul Renney; Nick Tsatsas


The Keystone model gives access to very experienced lawyers in specialist fields without the baggage of the larger firm. Very cost effective for focused specialist advice.’

‘Gerard Cukier is very experienced in the world of football, including manager and agent disputes. Paul Daniels has a mass of experience acting for managers in football.’

‘Keystone has an excellent sports team with great strength in-depth and a wealth of senior experience.’

‘Jamie Horner is a stand out expert in the motor racing field. An excellent advocate as well as technical lawyer, he is greatly respected (and liked) by clients and peers alike.’

‘Rachel Flynn has a unique understanding of TB racing/breeding industry.’

‘Experienced practitioners which is key in this sector because of the regulatory structures in place.’

‘Gerard Cukier is user-friendly and committed with a deep understanding of the issues.’

Key clients

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

Velocity Experience

Young Racing Driver Academy Limited



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

Work highlights

  • Advised Arden International Motorsport Limited, the vendors of the British-based F2 team, on the sale of its assets and assignment of the team’s FIA F2 Championship entry to leading German motorsport brand HWA.
  • Represented leading brand experience agency Velocity Experience in relation to its successful appointment to design and operate the W HQ hospitality experience for the W Series.
  • Advised an up-and-coming Newmarket thoroughbred breeding stud and bloodstock sales consignor on a difficult employment issue where the employee concerned was causing a challenging situation in the workplace.

Kingsley Napley LLP

Kingsley Napley LLP's sports department is known for its ‘hugely impressive depth of knowledge’ - the team is able to call upon criminal, defamation, immigration, corporate, commercial, regulatory and private client knowhow, among other practice areas. Sue Thackeray, who heads the group, is described as being 'so reassuring and capable she almost makes litigation a joy’. She predominantly focuses on contentious motorsport and football matters; other fields of activity include tennis, equestrian sports and breeding, hockey and basketball.

Practice head(s):

Sue Thackeray

Other key lawyers:

David Sleight; Sarah Harris; Charlotte Harris


‘Sue Thackeray is a standout partner.  She knew how to apply her industry-focused legal expertise to help me handle the legal issues unique to patent litigation. Sue is very responsive, engaged and balanced. We worked together as a strong cross-jurisdictional and cross-practice team to serve our client and get a winning result.’

‘Communication with the client, dedication, judgement and hard work.’

‘Sue Thackeray has outstanding relationships with clients and delivers outstanding results.’

‘The team’s depth of knowledge is hugely impressive. Technically very competent with a can-do attitude. Level-headed commercial advice.’

‘My dealings are mainly with Sue Thackeray and her team. Sue is very commercial and her clear thinking makes difficult situations much easier. Always available to help and where necessary act as a sounding board which is invaluable when having to make difficult decisions.’

‘The team has some very bright lawyers, including Sue Thackeray, and the quality of its legal analysis compares favourably with departments at competing firms. At the same time, the team’s interpersonal and client handling skills are superb.’

‘The sports practice is excellent at working with overseas attorneys on the often unique disputes that impact upon professional sports personnel. The team worked well with me, displaying thoughtful and calm balance and wisdom. Their industry expertise was invaluable in my understanding how the legal issues I was handling applied in the context of a the sport.’

Work highlights

  • Acting in F1 team contractual negotiations and numerous sponsorship matters; and acting in successful striking out of patent proceedings in US.
  • Acting in a $700m share sale dispute relating to leading international sports management company.
  • Successfully representing  a Premiership footballer in relation to sexual assault charges.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright’s London team forms part of the firm’s global sports practice, spread across 26 offices. Stephen Rigby fronts the UK offering, leveraging the firm's extensive footprint to advise on international transactions with a track record in supporting inward investment into UK-based football clubs. The wider group is also well-versed in stadium financings and developments, disputes, sponsorship deals, IP affairs and regulatory investigations.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Rigby

Other key lawyers:

Claire O’Donnell; Sarah Fitzpatrick; Paul Joseph

Key clients

Envision Virgin Racing

British Racing Drivers Club Limited

Crusaders Cricket Australia Inc.

Southampton FC

London Development Agency

Iconix Brand Group

Sportsworld Media Group Plc

Société Générale

777 Partners LLC

Work highlights

  • Advised 777 Partners LLC on its acquisition of the London Lions basketball club.

Stephenson Harwood

Hailed as a ‘great team’, Stephenson Harwood is engaged on a wide variety of sporting matters; the practice is particularly acclaimed for insolvency-related affairs, especially in respect of motorsport and football clubs. Eommercial litigator Ben Sigler is head of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Ben Sigler

Other key lawyers:

Julian Cahn


A great team.’

Key clients

Trustees in Bankruptcy of Boris Becker

Bolton Wanderers Football Club

Revolve Performance Limited

Stella International Holdings

Work highlights

  • Continuing to act for Boris Becker’s trustees in bankruptcy in a complex exercise that involves a detailed investigation of the tennis legend’s business affairs and property including in respect of income generated from his various sporting commitments and successes.
  • Continuing to act for the (now) liquidators of Bolton Wanderers FC. The matter was high profile and resulted in the rescue and continued existence of BWFC, a historic and community asset in Bolton.
  • Acting for the Revolve Performance Group in respect of the restructuring of the Mountune motor racing brand, an iconic British racing manufacturer.