Firms To Watch: Sport

Udo Onwere, a private client expert and head of the sports team at Bray & Krais, Solicitors, advises high-profile footballers and pundits on a wide array of matters, namely commercial contracts involving player contract renewals, broadcasting employment and service agreements, and image rights agreements. The team, which includes IP, branding and reputation management specialist Simon Goodbody, frequently assists clients dealing with contentious matter such as misconduct charges.
Based in Birmingham, Gowling WLG‘s interdisciplinary sports team, led by experienced commercial contracts specialist Sarah Riding and corporate lawyer Ragi Singh, is known for supporting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on a range of matters, including corporate governance, employment, procurement, IT contracts and brand protection. The team also regularly works on IP and sponsorship mandates.
Having moved from Mackrell Turner Garrett in July 2023, Mohit Pasricha and associates Jake Cohen and William Bowyer together form Lawrence Stephens solicitors‘ sports and entertainment team, which advises athletes across football and boxing on sponsorship, IP and image rights agreements. The team also support clients on contentious matters, such as arbitration proceedings concerning FA Rule K issues, and player contract terminations.
Following the arrival of private equity and M&A specialist Tony Downes from Proskauer Rose LLP in July 2022, Sidley Austin LLP‘s entertainment, sport and media team notably advises investment funds on the acquisition and sale of football clubs.

Sport in London

Bird & Bird LLP

A number of UK and world governing bodies in sport – namely swimming, motorsport, athletics and horseracing bodies – call upon Bird & Bird LLP for advice on a host of regulatory matters, including anti-doping, transgender eligibility, nationality representations in world competitions, and novel sport issues.  Jonathan Taylor KC, head of the international sports group, and Max Duthie continue to work on ground-breaking mandates concerning evolving regulations and investigations for a range of governing bodies and elite league competitions in football, rugby, tennis and cricket. Craig Giles heads up the sports media rights practice, regularly working with the support of Robert Turner; the pair work on commercial contracts, licenses, and sponsorship deals, particularly in relation to rugby. Giles advises both media broadcasters and event rights holders across a number of sports. Turner is also a specialist in advising rights holders on the exploitation of sports data and audiovisual feeds. Andrew Danson heads up the firm’s global media, entertainment and sport sector group, while co-head of the international finance and financial regulation group Joss Hargrave focuses on football finance matters regarding stadium and project financing, player transfers, sports club restructurings and insolvency arrangements. Richard Bush and Lauren Pagé are the key names to note for contentious regulatory and investigatory matters, acting for a number of sporting governing bodies on disciplinary issues. Promoted to partner in May 2023, Will Deller leads matters involving NFT deals across a range of sports. Chris Lavey, Emma Drake and Lereesa Easterbrook are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Taylor KC

Other key lawyers:

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


‘Very good, market leading industry knowledge. By instructing Bird & Bird you know that you are getting the benefit of first hand, market leading experience. A top team/firm for sports work.’

‘All exceptional – especially Rob Turner, Will Deller and Max Duthie. Craig Giles and Tom Lambert are also very good to work with.’

‘Richard Bush is first-class and the go-to person for all sports integrity issues. He is enthusiastic and hard-working, and always willing to go the extra mile.’

Key clients

The British & Irish Lions

Six Nations Rugby

World Athletics

The Football Association


The Premier League

Fédération Internationale De Natation

Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile

Arsenal Football Club

The Lawn Tennis Association

Work highlights

  • Advising World Athletics, Fédération Internationale De Natation and The Football Association on eligibility and selection matters, entailing drafting applications for new regulatory frameworks.
  • Supporting British & Irish Lions on establishing a new commercial programme for its tours, putting in place partner agreements to meet the operational and logistical needs.
  • Assisting Six Nations Rugby, Standard Chartered, United Rugby Championship, DXC and Arsenal with sponsorship matters.

Northridge Law LLP

Sports boutique Northridge Law LLP regularly works on high value sponsorship deals and corporate transactions – such as takeovers and sales – for elite football clubs. Practice co-heads Jonathan Ellis and Ian Lynam are routinely engaged on high-profile mandates within the industry, ranging from high-profile acquisitions to sponsorship agreements. Recent engagements for Ellis include work with the FA regarding the development of the women’s game and issues arising out of fan-led reviews. Jon Walters and Paul Shapiro are key commercial contacts for high-growth tech companies operating at the intersection of media, sports, marketing and advertising. Walters also works on venue hosting agreements for baseball and football events. James Eighteen is regularly sought out by major governing bodies for advice on horse-doping-related disciplinary proceedings, among other issues. Jamie Feldman supports on employment law matters. Oliver HarlandSarah Boulton and George Willis are all further names to note. Mike Herbert was promoted to partner in April 2023.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Ellis; Ian Lynam

Other key lawyers:

Jon Walters; James Eighteen; Paul Shapiro; Oliver Harland; Mike Herbert; George Willis; Sarah Boulton


‘Northridge combines the focused expertise of a specialist sports law firm with an unparalleled level of service. The firm excels across the full range of sports law work, from regulatory and disciplinary aspects to commercial and player/club/agent cases. The partners have enormous experience and expertise and effectively pass it on to the associates, who can quickly develop because the practice is specialist.’

‘I have worked most with Jon Ellis and James Eighteen on the regulatory side of things. They are simply excellent, combining very hard work with in depth knowledge and experience of the sector built up of many years. They stand out in particular because they can apply their expertise and experience, and hard work, so effectively to deliver what the client needs.’

‘Tom Edmonds is a pleasure to instruct – he is responsive, pragmatic, diligent, and understands the business and the industry.’

‘James Eighteen is a litigator who knows how to fight hard but provide pragmatic advice based on excellent legal knowledge. Inspires confidence.’

‘I do not know how anyone would fail to find Ian Lynam engaging. He is the very best non- contentious sports lawyer I have met. In a sector so full of egos and self-promotion, he is refreshingly understated.’

Jon Ellis is just the best if you have a regulatory dispute.’

‘Northridge probably have the best all round proposition in the sports law market. Dedicated specialist teams with deep knowledge of the sector.’

Paul Shapiro – strong legal drafting and meticulous attention to detail.

Key clients

The FA

Chelsea FC


LIV Golf


Premiership Rugby


The British Horseracing Authority

Raheem Sterling

Welsh Rugby Union

Fédération Française de Rugby

Work highlights

  • Acted as the lead counsel on the sale of Chelsea FC.
  • Acted for Spotify on its sponsorship agreement with FC Barcelona.
  • Advised Elliott Advisors on the sale of AC Milan to RedBird Capital Partners.

Onside Law LLP

Sports boutique Onside Law LLP leverages its network of offices in London, Switzerland and Australia to advise clubs, players, managers, international federations and intermediaries on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Co-founder Oliver Hunt, regularly supported by associate Robin Cumming, is a key port of call for elite golfers and footballers in need of assistance on commercial and business mandates, including sponsorship deals, media, and image rights. Hunt also assists football clubs and competition rights holders. Chris Walsh, supported by newly promoted partner Ross Brown, are key advisors for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), working with the organisation on a range of disciplinary proceedings and investigations. Brown – alongside Jamie Singer, James Tobias and Ben Hanglin – also support governing bodies in rugby and tennis on anti-doping and anti-corruption matters that reach the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The quartet also also works with clients in rugby on sponsorship and media rights arrangements. Co-founder and head of the corporate team Simon Thorp works with legal director Harriet Leach, who is a key adviser to a number of female sporting organisations. Specialist technology and digital media practitioner Adam Leadercramer supports on sponsorship deals. Data privacy and protection expert Sophie Wilkinson supports recently promoted partner Leon Farr on instructions from world governing bodies on the hosting and bidding arrangements for major events. Contentious instructions are chiefly handled by commercial litigator Stevie Loughrey.

Practice head(s):

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

Other key lawyers:

Ross Brown; Harriet Leach; Robin Cumming


‘A top drawer firm steeped in knowledge and experience. Remarkable insight into a range of sports. Excellent partners, excellent associates.’

‘Chris Walsh is a go-to lawyer. Clever, realistic, wonderful with clients. Smooth, in a good way. Also fun. Ross Brown: a new partner. Completely dedicates himself to a case. Very committed. Hannah Kent is a superstar associate. All over the detail. Extraordinary memory. Never drops the ball.’

‘Harriet Leach’s comprehensive understanding of women’s sport, including current challenges and solutions. Extremely strong collaborator and extremely supportive. Simon Thorp has comprehensive understanding of sports sector; investment, good governance innovation, well-connected and highly supportive.’

‘Onside Law are one of our main legal service providers based on their top tier expertise of the sports sector and ability to handle complex matters in an efficient and cost-effective manner.’

‘Jamie Singer’s sports law knowledge and practicality are matched only by his client management skills and good humour.’

Ross Brown was recently promoted to partner and not before time. A real rising star in the sports law world.’

Key clients

England and Wales Cricket Board

World Rugby

Red Bull Racing

Jude Bellingham

AC Milan

Leeds United

West Ham United

ATP Media

Federation Internationale de Automobile

International Tennis Integrity Agency

Lawn Tennis Association

Rugby Football Union

Welsh Rugby Union

European Rugby

Extreme E

Matt Fitzpatrick

Work highlights

  • Advised World Rugby on a fundamental restructure of how World Rugby organises and operates the Men’s and Women’s Rugby World Cups.
  • Advised The ECB across all regulatory and commercial matters including on the multiple disciplinary investigations and prosecutions against Yorkshire County Cricket Club and related individuals arising from Azeem Rafiq’s allegations.
  • Assisted Leeds United with all of its footballing matters, including 30+ transfers, player matters, friendlies, tour agreements, and  manager mandates.

Centrefield LLP

Manchester-based sports and media practice Centrefield LLP routinely advises elite English football clubs - as well as clubs across Europe, Asia, Oceania and North America - on commercial and regulatory matters. Practice co-heads Matthew Bennett and David Bentham, supported by director Oliver Sadler, frequently work on player and manager transfers. Bentham and Sadler also work on broadcasting and hosting rights mandates in the rugby space, while co-head Stuart Baird has extensive experience on assisting client across football, rugby and athletics with an array of disciplinary issues such as player bans and breach of FA regulations. Baird is known for his focus on immigration law matters in sport, advising footballers on visa, immigration, sponsorship and citizenship matters. Fellow co-head Edward Canty notably deals with criminal allegations in sport. Alex Brooks is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Edward Canty; Matthew Bennett; David Bentham; Stuart Baird

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Sadler; Alex Brooks


‘Centrefield is a highly specialised sports practice with detailed knowledge of the sports industry and the associated commercial sectors. They are uniquely placed to offer advice on all matters relating to sport.’

‘Matthew Bennett is a market leader in the sports industry and football in particular. He is diligent, calm, assured and his knowledge and advice are second to none.’

Broad and deep knowledge of sports industry, with expert experience in global football.’

Key clients

Manchester United Football Club

Manchester City Football Club

Liverpool Football Club

Chelsea Football Club

The Rugby Players’ Association

Super League

Major League Soccer

Leicester Tigers

Swim England

CJ Ujah

Work highlights

  • Advising the British sprinter, CJ Ujah in respect of an adverse analytical finding following an anti-doping test at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after Team GB won the silver medal in the men’s 4 x 100 metre relay.
  • Advising a variety of football club, player and agent clients on transfers with an aggregate value in excess of £1bn.
  • Advising Chelsea Football Club in respect of its dismissal of Thomas Tuchel and the appointment of Graham Potter.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Headed up by Jason Saiban, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP‘s sports, retail and technology group and is a key contact for both sponsors and sports entities. Key engagements for the team see them working with major multinational apparel companies and national governing bodies on sponsorship, marketing and advertising matters. Nic Couchman – who heads up the sport department – advises high-profile athletes on commercial, brand, and image rights matters. Edward Craig is the first port of call for equine matters, advising governing bodies in horseracing on contentious and non-contentious matters. Nick White advises clients on NFTs, ambush marketing issues, the assignment and transfer of trade marks and supports on sponsorship deals in tennis. Richard Davies and Danielle Sharkey support the team on a range of sponsorship, media rights and marketing instructions. Sharkey, in particular, leverages her experience of working as a legal and compliance adviser at the British Horseracing Authority.

Practice head(s):

Jason Saiban; Nic Couchman

Other key lawyers:

Nick White; Richard Davies; Danielle Sharkey; Edward Craig


‘The team are very much experts in their field. They understand the needs of the client and ensure the wider organisational matters are considered. CRS meet deadlines and work well with the in-house team, ensuring that others learn and are not side-lined during the process.’

‘Danielle Sharkey remains our go-to lawyer when we need external advice. She is incredibly knowledgeable, diligent and produces work which is exactly what is asked for, in a way that can be quickly and easily applied in the industry. She makes herself available when we need assistance and anticipates problems.’

‘Edward Craig is an exceptional leader of the dispute resolution team. He is approachable, knowledgeable and delivers work which is exactly what the client requires. As an organisation, we cannot recommend him enough.’

‘Responsive, pragmatic and knowledgeable. Burgeoning sports practice with experience across a range of disciplines.’

Key clients


The International Tennis Federation

International Cricket Council

Marcus Rashford

Ascot Racecourse



British Swimming

Premiership Rugby

British Horseracing Authority

Work highlights

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP’s sports team is a go-to for a number of high-profile clients - including elite football clubs and sports investors - seeking assistance on both contentious and non-contentious matters, ranging from sensitive investigations to transactions concerning emerging technologies. Following his promotion to partner in April 2023, James Cranston continues to handle a wide-ranging workload, including NFT-based mandates, corporate disputes, and appeals against substance abuse allegations - acting for both athletes and governing bodies. Christopher Yates, head of the sports dispute team, advises on high profile arbitration, Commercial Court and Court of Appeal proceedings. Other names to note include Jamie Andew, who works with blue-chip corporate clients on sponsorships, crypto issues, financing and governance. Jeremy Kosky, Tim Lewis and Jennifer Chimanga are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Yates

Other key lawyers:

James Cranston; Jamie Andrew; Tim Lewis; Jennifer Chimanga; Jeremy Kosky


‘All very impressive.’

‘They have surrounded us with specialists covering all areas of the action and keep us updated on a regular basis.’

‘Partner on the job very hands on and accessible. Explains everything in a clear and understandable way.’

‘A great team with great industry knowledge. Highly engaged and professional and made up of great individuals.’

‘They have all become natural extensions of our small and hard-working team. By doing that, they have become a multiplier to our international effect.’

‘Teamwork, professionalism and reliability truly sum up our incredible experience with Clifford Chance. At every level they understand the role of our organisation as one that focuses on sports recovery for a global community of wounded, injured and sick service personnel.’

‘An outstanding team capable of dealing with the most complex and challenging of matters.’

‘Chris Yates – superb ability in marshalling a large team.’

Key clients

Mercedes F1

Arsenal Football Club

International Paralympic Committee

E Stanley Kroenke and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

Manchester City Football Club

City Football Group

World Rugby

Southampton Football Club

Pakistan Cricket Board

Invictus Games Foundation

Sixth Street

Real Madrid


Centre for Sport and Human Rights

Sport Resolutions anti-doping panel

Work highlights

  • Representing Manchester City Football Club in proceedings arising from a Premier League investigation into compliance with its rules.
  • Advising the IPC on a joint venture dispute in the Commercial Court.
  • Advising Manchester City on two premier league firsts in the crypto world.


With the September 2022 arrivals of John Cloke and of counsel Oliver Kichenside from DLA Piper UK LLP, CMS‘ sports team has strengthened its position among elite sporting competition rights holders and broadcasters, developing its working relationship with clients like Premier League and Formula E. David Zeffman - who heads the gambling and sports team - is a key contact for the ECB on the sale of media rights. Tom Scourfield deals with IP protection and anti-piracy issues for EUFA. Glasgow-based Neeraj Thomas is recommended for his regulatory expertise, while John Enser works with major sports broadcasting networks on restructuring distribution agreements and joint ventures with other global media providers. He also supports - among other governing bodies - the International Cricket Council (ICC), working with them on media rights tenders. All named lawyers are based in London unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

David Zeffman

Other key lawyers:

John Cloke; Oliver Kichenside; Tom Scourfield; Neeraj Thomas; John Enser; Tom Reid


‘CMS has the strongest in-depth sports/media rights team in the UK. The lawyers are experts in the field and respond with insight and great technical knowledge. They are also a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Tom Scourfield is the client partner and is attentive, knowledgeable and just gets it right in terms of what we need.’

‘Tom Reid has done a lot of work with us over the past year and is a hugely impressive lawyer. His technical knowledge and organisational skills are excellent. Again, a pleasure to work with him.’

Key clients

British Olympic Association

BT Sport

Chelmsford City Racecourse

DAZN Limited

Endeavor IMG

Excel Esports

Formula E

England and Wales Cricket Board

International Cricket Council

Liverpool Football Club


Premier League

Royal Panda Limited

Scottish Football Association

Sports Information Services Limited

Television Event and Media Marketing AG

The All England Lawn Tennis Club

Unilever Group

Union Des Associations Européennes De Football

Work highlights

  • Advising Union Des Associations Européennes De Football (UEFA) on its anti-piracy work, including an ongoing role in obtaining and maintaining ‘live’ blocking injunctions to prevent Internet users from accessing particular targeted servers which are streaming illegal transmissions of UEFA games.
  • Advising the English Premier League on the formulation and execution of its domestic and international audio-visual and audio rights strategy.
  • Advised BT on all aspects of its joint venture with Warner Bros Discovery for its sports broadcasting business.

Level Law

A diverse range of clients turn to Level Law for its ‘professional and knowledgeable’ approach across a host of sports law mandates. Morris Bentata is a key contact for sports media rights holders across football, basketball and horseracing,  advising on production, commercial agreements, and digital licenses for major sporting competitions. Daniel Lowen and Liz Coley work with a number footballers, agents and agencies on contract renewals, transfers and contentious issues – including breaches of contracts and FA intermediary regulations. Beyond football, Lowen works with elite athletes across a number of sports who require advice on media rights, sponsorships and contractual issues, while Coley is noted for her experience in all manner of employment disputes. Tim Lowles focuses on litigation concerning media rights agencies and competition rights holders as well as disputes between governing bodies and its sponsors, most recently in the NFT space. Rowena Samarasinhe remains a key name to note, particularly for Olympic sports, while Victoria Evans‘ expertise covers the contracting of professional golfers and tournament arrangements. The team has deepened its bench strength with the autumn 2022 arrivals of Jodie Seddon and John Reid from gunnercooke LLP and Russells Solicitors, respectively. Seddon, in particular, is noted for her work on anti-doping and safeguarding matters in basketball, hockey and equestrian sports. Fraser Reid, Dan Harrington and Alastair Campbell are further key members of the team.

Other key lawyers:

Morris Bentata; Daniel Lowen; Dan Harrington; Fraser Reid; Tim Lowles; Liz Coley; Rowena Samarasinhe; Jodie Seddon; John Reid; Jody MacDonald


‘We have worked with Level Law for over ten years now. Their collective knowledge of the sports industry is absolutely vital to our business, and they are always our first point of call when we need legal services. The team at Level Law are not only professional and knowledgeable, they are all extremely personable and as such, always a pleasure to deal with.’

‘We primarily work with Dan Lowen and would not hesitate to recommend his services. Dan’s industry expertise and experience is invaluable to us a company. We have complete confidence in his advice, judgement and ability to manage any situation on our behalf.’

‘No matter the time or situation, Level will do their very best to promptly attend to any matter.’

‘Liz Coley will go above and beyond to help. Furthermore, she is extremely thorough and provides a service that is extremely high quality and detailed. She has my full trust, and I know our organization is indebted to Level and Liz for their brilliant work over the years.’

‘Level Law has very significant expertise in media rights, which combined with strong commercial outlook, makes for a great a legal service provision.’

‘Dan Harrington is arguably the best sports media rights lawyer in the UK. Tom Lowles is a high-class litigation lawyer.’

Key clients









Pierre Emerick Aubameyang

Wesley Fofana

Reece James

LIV Golf Ltd


Interregional Sports Group Limited

RDA Television LLP

Rugby Football Union

Professional Squash Association

British Mountaineering Council

Work highlights

  • Advised FIBA and FIBA Media in relation to a variety of production agreements and media rights agreements around the world.
  • Advising LIV Golf Ltd on pre-launch and actioning the contracting of professional golf players in connection with the set-up of the LIV Golf League.
  • Advising on over 140 premier league transfers and new contracts during the Summer 2022 transfer window, including deals for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Wesley and Reece James.

Lewis Silkin

Lewis Silkin is praised by one client for its ‘particular, leading strength in brand protection in sport’. Practice co-chair Alex Kelham advises on an array of matters, ranging from contentious issues concerning both athletes and governing bodies, to IP and image rights agreements. Kelham co-heads the team with Jonathan Carr, who focuses on employment and contractual matters for household clubs from the worlds of football and rugby. Andrew Osborne is the team’s specialist sports immigration practitioner, while Stephen O’Flaherty notably advises football, cricket and rugby teams on recruitment and transfer of players and coaches. Deputy co-chair John Shea remains a key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Alex Kelham; Jonathan Carr

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Osborne; Stephen O’Flaherty; John Shea


‘Lewis Silkin has particular, leading strength in brand protection in sport. They are the market leaders. Exceptionally good value, too.’

‘Alex Kelham is superb, top of the league. John Shea is the most sought-after senior associate in the market with a sports/technology specialism.’

‘John Shea is clever, easy going and very diligent. His advice is always practical and useful.’

Key clients

Rugby Football Union


Welsh Rugby Union

Brighton & Hove Albion

Northampton Rugby Football Club Limited

Ascot Racecourse Limited

Frank Lampard

CAA Base Limited

British Swimming


Work highlights

  • Advising the RFU on the establishment of a new league structure for the highest level of women’s domestic rugby in England.
  • Advising Frank Lampard in relation to his appointment as manager of Everton FC as well as assistant manager Joe Edwards and first team coaches Ashley Cole and Chris Jones.
  • Advising Michael Beale in relation to his appointment as manager at Queens Park Rangers FC.

Morgan Sports Law

Noted for its ‘unique experience in anti-doping matters’, sports arbitration and litigation specialists Morgan Sports Law are sought out by athletes across a range of sports for assistance filing appeals for doping allegations. Team head Mike Morgan assists a wide spectrum of athletes - including boxers, tennis players, cricketers and footballers - on anti-doping matters. Morgan also supports William Sternheimer, based in Switzerland, on major contractual disputes and CAS proceedings involving elite footballers and clubs. Head of the science unit Richard Martin is a key member of the team, while recent promotion to partner level Donna Bartley is also a name to note for contractual disputes matters, particularly concerning player contracts in the football industry.

Practice head(s):

Mike Morgan; Richard Martin; William Sternheimer

Other key lawyers:

Donna Bartley


‘Extremely knowledgeable. Very strong position on the market. Team composed of specialists only.’

‘They have unique experience in anti-doping matters. Complete team with interchangeable individuals.’

‘MSL have an unrivalled reputation in anti-doping matters, but are also have impressive lawyers who we have worked with in respect of FA Rule K arbitrations.’

‘Mike Morgan is the market-leading lawyer in anti-doping.’

‘Donna Bartley is an impressive contentious lawyer.’

‘Morgan Sports Law gels well together and with their clients, with fantastic communication and expert subject matter knowledge. Above this, they made me feel comfortable and positive about the case I was going through and made me at ease, I felt I could rely on them.’

Their expertise in e-sports, a relatively new field, is impressive, so as someone who works solely in this space I can recommend them.’

‘I worked closely with Donna Bartley, who I can’t speak more highly of. They were pleasant to deal with, know the subject matter well, gave me exceptional advice and, for me, most importantly, took the time to speak with me about my issues at length. Highly recommended.’

Key clients

Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels

Mr Conor Benn

Union Bordeaux Bègles

EF Education

EasyPost cycling team

Professional Footballers’ Association

Doncaster Knights Rugby Football Club

Women’s Rugby Association

Kenyan Women’s National Football Team

Ms Dayana Yastremska

Mr Laurie Evans

Mr Peter Charles

Ms Nada Abbas

Nam Dinh Football Club

Work highlights

  • Securing the exoneration of Conor Benn against doping charges brought by the World Boxing Council.
  • Securing damages and an apology from The Telegraph on behalf of Dayana Yastremska.
  • Acted for Doncaster Knights Rugby Football Club in responding to an RFU consultation on changing the relevant parts of the Minimum Standards Criteria for stadia capacity in the Gallagher Premiership.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP is a strong choice for a host of top-flight football clubs, competition rights holders and governing bodies across rugby, golf, horse racing, and athletics. Trevor Watkins, who heads the sports team, regularly collaborates with Manchester-based Samantha Livesey, the national commercial head, on a range of matters, supporting governing bodies on media rights deals, the structuring and refinancing of football clubs, and various investment transactions. Dispute resolution and regulatory specialist Julian Diaz Rainey is a key contact for major governing bodies, sports investors and football clubs seeking advice regarding investigations and the theft of data. All named lawyers are based in London unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Trevor Watkins

Other key lawyers:

Julian Diaz-Rainey; Samantha Livesey


‘Buckets of experience across London and Manchester.’

‘Trevor Watkins is a key player. He knows everyone and everything. Hugely experienced, very likeable.’

‘Trevor Watkins knows everyone and everything in the sports world.’

Key clients

City Football Group/Manchester City FC


World Athletics

The Jockey Club

Jockey Club Racecourses Limited

Derby County

Fulham FC

Blackburn Rovers FC

10Ten Talent Limited

Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 Organising Committee

Liverpool FC

Everton FC

Work highlights

  • Supported World Athletics in the drafting, negotiation and conclusion of its media rights partnership with the European Broadcasting Union relating to all the events in the World Athletics Series.
  • Assisted World Athletics with a selection of commercial, intellectual property and media contracts over the past 12 months, including advice in relation to World Athletics award of the Oregon 22 World Championships.
  • Advising Bury FC on supporter rescue, structure, financing and delivery.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs‘strong, in-depth experience of sports law’ makes it a firm choice for a diverse roster of clients, who regularly turn to the team for assistance on compliance issues, commercial agreements, and contractual disputes.  Stephen Sampson - who heads the EMEA litigation practice as well as the sports and entertainment group - is well versed in both domestic and cross-border football-related disputes, including investigations into club ownership. Wayne Barnes specialises in investigations and reviews for national governing bodies. IP and technology expert Mike Llewellyn is a key contact for compliance and privacy matters as well as for digital advertising and NFT partnerships between tech companies and league competition rights holders. Joining from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in September 2022, Lucy Webster acts for high-profile clients in reputational risk matters. Henry Goldschmidt - who joined the firm from Solesbury Gay in the summer of 2022 - frequently works on investigative matters together with Katie Smith - 'a real superstar in the making.'

Practice head(s):

Stephen Sampson

Other key lawyers:

Wayne Barnes; Mike Llewellyn; Lucy Webster; Katie Smith


‘First rate experienced and practical sports disputes/commercial team.’

‘Steve Sampson is one of the best lawyers in sports disputes in the UK.’

‘Combination of global reach and industry expertise.’

‘Strong, in-depth experience of sports law, with good expertise in both its M&A and litigious aspects.’

Stephen Sampson is an absolute powerhouse. Always available, and always able to assess a situation on a call, talk you through the applicable laws and give you an opinion on that same call. One of the few partners not afraid to give you a risk analysis and tell you how to proceed.’

Katie Smith is a real superstar in the making.’

Key clients

AIA Company Limited

Alpine Racing Limited

Arena Racing

Aston Villa FC

AFL Europe Ltd

Brighton and Hove Albion FC

British Judo


Creative Artists Agency

England Boxing

Essex CCC

Fulham Football Club

IF Education Pty Limited


The International Tennis Federation

Mesut Özil

FC Nantes

Project 11

Rangers FC

Sheffield Wednesday FC

Six Nations Management

Southampton FC




West Bromwich Albion FC

Whoop, Inc

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

World Sailing

Work highlights

  • Acted for FC Nantes in its claim against Cardiff City FC for the transfer fee payable for the player Emiliano Sala who tragically lost his life, along with pilot David Ibbotson, when their plane crashed into the English Channel.
  • Advised Supponor on its game changing-deal with the National Hockey League (NHL) for the league-wide deployment of virtual advertising technology at NHL matches.
  • Advising CONCACAF on compliance, privacy and commercial agreements, including for the hosting of major events in the US in the period 2023-2025.

Brabners LLP

Based in the North East of England, Brabners LLP routinely provides governance, safeguarding, immigration and regulatory advice to national governing bodies from the worlds of tennis, basketball, and football, to name a few. Manchester-based practice head Lydia Edgar maintains a broad practice that spans employment issues, sustainability policies and safeguarding matters. She is supported by legal director Andrew McGregor, noted for his expertise in football employment disputes. Liverpool-based Paul Lunt serves as a crisis management and litigation specialist for athletes involved in racism allegations and invasion of privacy claims. Manchester-based Jason Smith and IP expert Colin Bell, based in Liverpool, work together on commercial matters concerning broadcasting, merchandising, marketing and media rights. Smith, supported by Catherine Forshaw, advises governing bodies on gender inclusion and eligibility matters.

Practice head(s):

Lydia Edgar

Other key lawyers:

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

Key clients

The English Football League (EFL)

England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB)


Liverpool Football Club

Leicester City Football Club

Commonwealth Games Federation

Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)

Gaimin Io Limited (Esports)

Plymouth Argyle Football Club

Wasserman Media Group

British Swimming

British Ice Skating

British Canoeing

Sheffield United Football Club

Blackpool Football Club

Birmingham City Football Club

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club

Bolton Wanderers Football Club

Wigan Athletic Football Club

Preston North End Football Club

Swindon Town Football Club

Cornwall RLFC (formerly Ottawa Aces)

Michael Carrick Foundation

Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group

British Judo Association

PM Sport Management Limited

Michael Vaughan OBE (former England cricketer)

Manchester Sale Rugby Club Ltd (Sale Sharks RFU)

Midas Sports Management

British Basketball Federation

Basketball England

Dariusz Michalczewski (Boxing)

Manchester United Foundation

Ben Stokes

Wigan Rugby League Club Limited

Coleen Rooney

Professional Golfers Association (“PGA”)

National Football Museum

Players Foundation (PFA Charity)

Everton In The Community

Work highlights

  • Advising the Commonwealth Games Federation (“CGF”) on a number of matters, including their relationship with a leading fully integrated, sports marketing and entertainment agency and on arrangements which deal with all of CGF’s Commercial, Media and Marketing Rights relating to the 2022, 2026 and 2030 Commonwealth Games.
  • Provided crisis management support and advice to Ben & Deborah Stokes on their ECB affray and The Sun privacy cases; Wayne & Coleen Rooney on the Wagatha Christe dispute; and Michael Vaughan on the Azeem Rafiq – racism allegations.
  • Advised an EFL Championship Football Club in respect of various claims by the EFL that the Club enabled its potential purchasers to acquire control of the club without prior approval from the EFL which would consequently amount to a breach of the EFL Regulations.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper ‘s media, sport, and entertainment group is headed up by Nicholas Fitzpatrick, described by clients as ‘vastly experienced and a calm head under pressure’ for the negotiation and structuring of arrangements for the hosting of major events. He is a key contact for high-profile football leagues and television networks for his expertise in commercial and regulatory matters, including IP licensing and broadcasting rights agreements. Often working in conjunction with Samuel Churney, Fitzpatrick also works on sponsorship deals and betting matters. John Wilks and Ruth Hoy are also noted for their IP expertise, including in anti-piracy and rights issues related to sports data. M&A specialist Jon Kenworthy advises on joint ventures centred around sports media and global football developments as well as debt and equity investment in football clubs.

Practice head(s):

Nick Fitzpatrick

Other key lawyers:

John Wilks; Samuel Churney; Ruth Hoy; Jon Kenworthy


‘Very responsive and wide experience.’

‘Nick Fitzpatrick is vastly experienced and a calm head under pressure.’

‘The top firm for sports law. Great industry and legal knowledge.’

‘Ruth Hoy is an excellent partner who really works at understanding the client\’s objectives and delivering them.’

‘John Wilks is a very thorough and dedicated partner, with a particular strength in IP rights in the sports context.’


Key clients

Warner Bros Discovery

The Football Association Premier League


European Leagues

Football DataCo Limited

Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

National Basketball Association

Work highlights

  • Advised Warner Bros. Discovery on the formation of a 50:50 joint venture with BT Group plc to create a new premium sports offering for the UK & Ireland.
  • Acting for the Premier League on a wide range of commercial and regulatory matters and have undertaken a great deal of IP enforcement work for the client.
  • Supported ITV on its broadcasting rights agreement with Six Nations Rugby Limited and the BBC in relation to the men’s Six Nations championship.

Farrer & Co

Steered by Tom Bruce, Farrer & Co‘s sports team regularly advises a diverse mix of high-profile sports clients on a range of corporate, commercial and governance matters, such as regulatory instructions, joint ventures and structuring international sporting events. Bruce regularly handles this workload with the support of India Benjamin. Katie Fudakowski is the key contact for several governing bodies seeking assistance with investigations and reviews into safeguarding and employment matters, as well as compliance mandates. Owen O’Rorke focuses on overlapping commercial, IP and data matters for such clients, while Julian Pike is a go-to contentious media and sports practitioner, advising sports teams, governing bodies and individuals on all manner of disputes. Henry Sainty, David Hunt and Paul Jones are further key names to note. Kate Allass is particularly recommended for her capabilities in high-profile disputes.

Practice head(s):

Tom Bruce

Other key lawyers:

India Benjamin; Katie Fudakowski; Owen O’Rorke; Julian Pike; Henry Sainty; David Hunt; Paul Jones; Kate Allass


‘We mainly instruct Julian Pike who is the best in the field – in my view – for reputational management, crisis management, defamation etc.’

‘Julian Pike is always available and gives spot-on pragmatic, comprehensive and business oriented advice. He has huge respect in the media.’

Key clients

PGA European Tour

The Football Association

Cube Limited

Lawn Tennis Association

England and Wales Cricket Board

World Netball

The London Marathon Charitable Trust

British Swimming

UK Athletics

Henley Royal Regatta

Work highlights

  • Advising PGA European Tour on its entry into a 13-year operational joint venture partnership with PGA TOUR.
  • Advising the LTA on all aspects of an ambitious project to refurbish around 4,500 public tennis courts throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Advising BOXT Limited on all aspects of the negotiation and signing of its sponsorship agreement with Everton Football Club.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Harbottle & Lewis LLP's workload regularly covers sports marketing and sponsorship. regulatory disputes, disciplinary proceedings, and reputation management issues - namely advising sports bodies on how to protect their privacy and information rights. Team head Bob Mitchell, regularly working in conjunction with Mike Jones, focuses on the intersection between sports, technology and entertainment. Mitchell is also a key contact for cricketers playing at the national level, who are seeking advice in relation to commercial, employment and disciplinary matters. Alongside Mitchell, Sam Purkiss advises both sponsors and sports entities, while Michael Lister focuses on athlete contract, sponsorship and endorsement arrangements. Dalton Odendaal is a key name to note for work concerning the hosting and staging of major sporting events, including merchandising, ticketing, and ceremonies.

Practice head(s):

Bob Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Michael Lister; Dalton Odendaal; Sam Purkiss; Mike Jones


‘All of our interactions with the Harbottle Lewis team have shown them to be a highly professional and personable team – a pleasure to work with.’

‘They are extremely well credentialed in our space, which always gives us full confidence.

‘Michael Lister and Sam Purkiss have been excellent to work with, providing considered advice and counsel to us.’

‘Bob Mitchell and Sam Purkiss are superstars.’

‘Harbottle’s team has a deep understanding of the law and its intricacies. They are well-versed in legal precedents and regulations, and can provide expert advice on a wide range of legal matters. Strong analytical skills, showcase a wide range of excellent communicators, work collaboratively, and pool their expertise and knowledge to achieve the best outcomes for their clients. Harbottle’s team are skilled problem solvers, using their legal expertise, analytical skills, and creativity to develop innovative solutions to complex legal issues.’

‘Very quick and professional with their responses. They always take a very collaborative approach and as such we have enjoyed a long-term relationship with them.’

‘Michael Lister is outstanding. He is an expert in the sports field and has helped us with a huge variety of work covering all aspects of sponsorship and management.’

Key clients

Nissan Formula E

Kai Havertz

England Cricket Team

Romelu Lukaku

England Hockey

Stoffel Vandoorne

The Rugby Football Union

Electronic Arts



Cricket West Indies

Isa Guha

Gumball 3000 Entertainment

Match Fit

Kindred Concepts Limited

Verbal Solutions


Sporting Events

Work highlights

  • Advised Nissan Formula E on the acquisition by Nissan of the e.dams Formula E racing team and acted as its commercial and corporate counsel throughout the year.
  • Advised Kindred Concepts on all key aspects of its launch and operation of their F1 Arcade, a new immersive social entertainment venue concept incorporating Formula 1 racing simulators.
  • Advised the England cricketers on employment, disciplinary and commercial arrangements, including in respect of the 2022 T20 World Cup.

Latham & Watkins

Steered by Patrick Mitchell - regarded as a ‘leading lawyer for international sport and media deals’ - Latham & Watkins regularly advises on sponsorship, media rights and commercial deals involving football clubs, social media companies, broadcasters, as well as a number of high-value sponsors. The team, which includes vice-chair of the global M&A practice Edward Barnett and corporate practitioners Sam Newhouse and Farah O’Brien, is also known for its work on investments and M&A deals in the industry, regularly working with internationally renowned football clubs and rugby teams. Counsel Rachael Astin is a key figure for competition hosting arrangements and media rights acquisitions. Stewart Robinson is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Ed Barnett; Rachel Astin; Farah O’Brien; Stewart Robinson


‘Patrick Mitchell provides excellent commercial advice on all aspects of sports agreements and ancillary/connected matters. The level of expertise and internationally joined up nature of the offering is first-rate compared to other firms.’

‘Patrick Mitchell is a standout.’

‘Patrick Mitchell is a leading lawyer for international sports and media deals. Tremendous knowledge of European football and sports projects. Team leader and accessible.’

Patrick Mitchell is a go-to for complex sporting or media matters.’

Key clients


International Olympic Committee

Todd Boehly



Chelsea Football Club



Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Team


Meta Platforms

Dapper Labs

Formula E

World Surf League

Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix


Ultimate Champions

Saudi Arabian Football Federation

Silver Lake Capital Partners

CVC Capital

MSD UK Holdings

Fortress Investment Group

888 Holdings

Goldman Sachs


European Clubs Association

International Olympic Committee

Work highlights

  • Acted as the lead legal counsel to the consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital on its £4.25 billion acquisition of Chelsea Football Club.
  • Advised Silver Lake on its investment into the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Professional Leagues (APL).
  • Advised Red Bull Racing Formula One Team on various of its premium sponsorship deals.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP advises an array of sports sector clients - namely across football, sailing, boxing, golf, sports tech and eSports - on regulatory and commercial mandates. Football expert and co-head of the team Carol Couse assists footballers with personal endorsements, private client matters and investments. She also supports football clubs on player and coach transfers and hires. Julian Moore frequently works on sponsorship agreements, while team co-head Mark Hovell is noted for his experience as a president of CAS panels in important boxing decisions. Phil Hutchinson is recommended for his expertise in anti-doping rules. Richard Santy is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Carol Couse; Mark Hovell

Other key lawyers:

Richard Santy; Julian Moore; Phil Hutchinson


‘Mills & Reeve have recently assisted us with a matter and quickly picked up the detail and legal complexity of the work in a very cost-effective manner. We would certainly look to go to them again.’

‘Mark Hovell is very knowledgeable in many of the specialist areas that we operate. His experience and support is invaluable. He is also a great point of contact for any non-football matters that we may require assistance with, and is very attentive in this way.’

‘Carol Couse is very personable and a good communicator with our non-legal staff. She is skilled at unravelling complicated legal and regulatory topics to make them digestible for non-lawyers.’

Key clients

UK Sport

Kevin De Bruyne

Super League

Jockey World Championships

British Cycling, Bradford, Huddresfield

Divock Origi

Lucy Bronze

James Milner

Kieran Trippier

Leah Williamson

Court of Arbitration for Sport

Professional Cricketers’ Association

Rangers Football Club

Burnley Football Club

Cambridge United Football Club

Norwich City Football Club

Podium Analytics

Eleven Sport

Work highlights

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP‘s sports group head Simon Leaf leverages his ‘expert grasp not only of sports law but also technology matters’ to advise clients that operate at the intersection of tech, media and sport, including NFTs and crypto-centric ventures. Leaf also works with various sports investors and agencies as well as a number of football clubs, working with the latter on with financial regulation compliance. Tom Murray regularly works alongside Leaf as he assists motorsport clients with drivers’ contracts and endorsement deals; his broad client roster spans world champion boxers, F1 drivers and football clubs, governing bodies, players and agents, as well as sports tech businesses. Immigration specialist Maria Patsalos is a go-to adviser for women's football matters, while ‘fantastic litigator’ Peter Nunn is called upon by motorsport clients for advice on on crypto-related disputes. Reema Sharma - a recent arrival from Freeths LLP - works on high-value matters related to the hosting and broadcasting of boxing matches in the Middle East. Oliver Millichap is a further name to note.

Practice head(s):

Simon Leaf

Other key lawyers:

Peter Nunn; Tom Murray; Maria Patsalos; Reema Sharma; Oliver Millichap


‘Simon Leaf is a consummate professional with an expert grasp not only of sports law but also technology matters, making him particularly well placed to advise on the increasing number is issues that straddle the two.’

‘A really outstanding media team, with sports, tech and media at its focus. One of my favourite firms to work with.’

‘Peter Nunn is a fantastic litigator, who has recently worked on a diamond trading case where he excelled – and won!’

Simon Leaf is the head of sports law, very well-connected and a man who knows his sport. From the regulatory side to litigation, he should be on every sportsperson’s list.’

‘What makes the practice unique is the ability of their team to quickly understand the issues at hand and promptly come back to clients with proposed alternatives explained in a plain business language, which is what counts the most. Even complicated issues are made simple to understand and digest.’

‘The strategic guidance MdR provides to clients is outstanding – they seem to know very well what needs to be done, and when to be aggressive or hold still and wait, which I believe comes from the vast experience across the entire team.’

Key clients

Azeem Rafiq



Splash Tech

Fewco Management Ltd

Multiple Motorsport Drivers

8by8 Video Limited

Women in Football


The Tote

Work highlights

  • Advised Socios on advertising, corporate and employment related matters.
  • Represented Azeem Rafiq in disciplinary hearings and other related matters to mitigate the damage caused by the hundreds of defamatory articles published about him.
  • Advised Neil Fewings and his management business on contractual arrangements for numerous high-profile professional footballers, as well as Neil’s own transfer.

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP‘s Newcastle-based team advises a range of governing bodies and other organisations on various investment programs, data privacy and safeguarding issues, as well as sponsorship and IP advice. The group is led by employment law expert Tony McPhillips, who assists a wide range of clients, including football, cricket and rugby clubs as well as governing bodies and competition rights holders. Charity law and governance expert Samantha Pritchard, who joined from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in December 2022, procurement practitioner Alison Walton, and sports finance specialist Louise Duffy are further key names to note. John Devine now serves as a consultant solicitor at the firm, having departed for the general counsel role at Newcastle United FC.

Practice head(s):

Tony McPhillips

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Pritchard; Louise Duffy; Alison Walton


‘Muckle are always on hand to provide advice and guidance, and you always know who you are dealing with, they provide a personal touch and value you as a client.’

‘Jennifer Pearson is a terrific solicitor. She has an amazing grip on detail and the law, case management and how to manage complex multi party litigation, working well with clients and other lawyers.’

‘Dedicated and dynamic team within the practice who take time to understand the nuances within the industry. Advice is given in a practical way, allowing solutions to be implemented making a difference to the sport.’

‘Each individual offers valuable advice and great attention to detail, and our partnership with Muckle goes from strength to strength as a result. An extended member of the team!’

‘Very knowledgeable and capable.’

‘They gave considered advice in relatable language. Very pleasant to deal with.’

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

The Rugby Players’ Association

The Football Foundation

British Wheelchair Basketball

British Skydiving

English Ice Hockey Association

Work highlights

  • Advised The Football Association (The FA) on providing a legal support service to clubs in tiers 4 to 7 of the national game pyramid as part of the Club Programme piloted in 2022 and launched with 380 clubs in 2023.
  • Assisted The Football Foundation from concept to realisation with the national charitable hubs programme.


RPC‘s sports group and commercial division chief Jeremy Drew is a key contact for a range of clients - including rugby teams, sports data companies, sports investors, sports consultancy companies and football clubs - on a diverse array of matters that includes litigations and commercial agreements. Oliver Bray works with social media clients on issues that intersect social media with sport. Tax specialists Adam Craggs and Michelle Sloane support Drew in advising clients, such as football clubs, on contentious tax matters concerning player transfers and agent fees. Josh Charalambous is a key name to note at the junior end, while Samuel Coppard focuses on soft IP infringement issues in the sports sector.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Drew

Other key lawyers:

Josh Charalambous; Michelle Sloane; Oliver Bray; Samuel Coppard


‘The team has a deep knowledge of the sector, exceptional strategic nous, and is lovely to work with.’

‘Josh Charalambous, who has just become a partner, is superb. He is responsive and clever, with a real gift for focussing on what is important (both in terms of the litigation and the client’s commercial aims). He’s also very fun to work with.’

Jeremy Drew is a standout partner. He is very popular with clients and is always on top of the issues. He also has an excellent commercial approach to his cases, giving practical advice to clients.’

‘A brilliant range of highly talented youth and experience. Great degree of proactivity and ability to see trouble ahead. Prompt and well versed on the every changing commercial market of sport. Very impressed with their work to date.’

Key clients

Mike Ashley


Saracens RFC

Soft Construct

Sports Direct



Sport Industry Group

England Lacrosse

Mavericks Netball

The Esports Awards

Square Mile Sport

thinkBeyond Sport


Newcastle United FC

National Student Esports

Sports Podcast Group


Work highlights

  • Instructed by Soft Construct in the long running sports data dispute in the High Court which included intervening in the Sportradar v Genius Sports and Football DataCo competition case around the rights to collect, distribute and own rights in respect of live sports data.
  • Advised Saracens on a host of commercial and regulatory matters throughout the year including the first ever rugby partnerships by Socios.
  • Acting for webuyanycar in its new and high-profile broadcast sponsorship of Sky Sports’ coverage of the Premier League.

Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May‘s corporate specialists Andrew Jolly and Mark Zerdin jointly head the sports team, which frequently advises high-profile investors seeking to acquire and invest in top-tier football clubs in England and Europe. The firm also leverages its expertise across data protection, competition law, disputes and IP to assist clients across a diverse range of sports, including F1, rugby, and cycling to name a few. Jolly is a key name to note for football clubs seeking advice on player transfers, while Zerdin frequently works on commercial contracts concerning media companies acquiring the rights to broadcast world competitions. Richard Todd, Jane Edwarde and Tom Inker advise on large-scale stadium construction projects in the worlds of football and cricket.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Jolly; Mark Zerdin

Other key lawyers:

Richard Todd, Jane Edwarde; Tom Inker; Hemita Sumanasuriya


‘Extremely high level of care and competence of partners and associates. Also, the intellectual horsepower at all levels of seniority to stay right on top of an extremely complex negotiation.’

‘Calm, thoughtful and intelligent advice at all days and hours. Hemita Sumanasuriya had my absolute trust on all issues, both for their ability to navigate an extremely complex negotiation and the degree to which they cared about my interests as their client.’

‘Excellent knowledge of football club and stadium transactions across firm departments and therefore informed advice taking account of specific risks associated with the sector.’

‘Willingness and ability to answer questions and provide advice at very short notice, and without prior knowledge of the challenge. Differentiated from competitors by quality of advice and ability to communicate that to staff within the client’s organisation.’

‘They have impressive practical knowledge and experience of how the football world works, both at the club and regulator level, whether it relates to acquisitions, stadium construction and finance or the day-to-day issues of running a club. Combined with their usual pragmatism and outstanding transaction execution skills, this makes for a very strong team.’

‘Andrew Jolly is hugely experienced and well-connected in football-related matters. Down to earth, hands-on, able to deliver concise, pragmatic advice. Fun to work with.’

Key clients


New Zealand Rugby

Arsenal Football Club

Aston Villa Football Club

Everton Football Club

A.S Roma S.P.A

Marylebone Cricket Club


Boat Race Company

Lendlease Construction Europe

Relevent Sports Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising INEOS Sport in respect of various football matters.
  • Assisting ITV in relation to an investigation launched by the Competition and Markets Authority into companies involved in the production and broadcasting of sports content.
  • Supporting Everton Football Club on the construction of the Club’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and the redevelopment of Goodison Park.

Walker Morris LLP

The Leeds-based Walker Morris LLP‘s sports team – led by David Hinchliffe and supported by directors Christian Slinger and Charlotte Smith as well as India Swall – focuses on football matters, particularly the sale and purchase of football clubs, and Football Association (FA) regulatory charges concerning breaches involving player transfers and intermediaries. Slinger - noted for his experience of working on football sector M&A - is a key port of call for for a number of clubs in the Premier League, the English Football League and the National League, while Smith routinely assists on employment aspects.

Practice head(s):

David Hinchliffe

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Smith; Stephen Morris; Christian Slinger; India Swall


‘Always popping up in a range of sports cases, particularly football. A really good bunch of people.’

‘David Hinchliffe is the go-to person when it comes to takeovers in football. Hugely knowledgeable, well-known, very much liked. A treat to work with him.’

‘India Swall is a great associate. Deals brilliantly with cases and clients. Very bright, great drafting. Works at a level way above expectations for someone of her PQE.’

‘Top level sports law firm. Their incredible roster of loyal clients – especially Premier League and Championship football clubs – really says it all. They know the sports law world inside out and back to front, and always fight hard for the best results.’

‘Clients love and trust David Hinchliffe, with good reason. He understands their commercial needs and always fights their corner, he’s extremely well-connected, has seen it all, and knows the best way through any issue or dispute. India Swall is an excellent up-and-coming associate, with calm, poise and ability beyond her years. Always a complete pleasure to work with. Capably and dependably manages every aspect of major and high profile High Court and sports arbitration work. One to watch.’

‘Perhaps the firm with the best understanding of and connections in elite level football in the UK.’

‘David Hinchliffe is one of the best connected and most experienced lawyers operating in the sector.’

‘Their absolute strength is that no other firm is as deep in the industry as them. They know the industry better than anyone. Stephen Morris and David Hinchliffe are absolute sector specialists.’

Key clients

AFC Bournemouth

Ali Acun Ilicali


Bidding consortium for the takeover of Chelsea FC

Blackpool FC

Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Burnley FC

Carlisle United FC

Huddersfield Town AFC

Leeds United FC

Sheffield United FC

Watford FC

Wrexham AFC

York City Knights RLFC

Work highlights

  • Acted on the sale of AFC Bournemouth Limited for A.FC.B Enterprises Limited to the consortium led by American philanthropist and businessman, William Foley II.
  • Assisted Brighton & Hove Albion FC in relation to a number of charges brought by the FA relating to a significant number of historic player transactions.
  • Supported Sir Martin Broughton’s Bidding Consortium in the widely publicised race for the takeover of Chelsea FC and carried out due diligence on the target group.

Armstrong Teasdale

Event management specialists Armstrong Teasdale support a number of major competitions, such as The All-England Lawn Tennis Club, the London Marathon and EUFA, with an exhaustive range of relevant issues, including delivery and supplier agreements, security contracts, venue agreements, data protection, and concession contracts. The practice is headed up by Zane Shihab, while James Thorndyke focuses on regulatory and disciplinary issues, often in the public eye. Thorndyke also assists on issues involving the illegal buying and selling of sporting events tickets. Consultant Nick Bitel supports Shihab on the drafting and negotiation of regulations in the equestrian space.

Practice head(s):

Zane Shihab

Other key lawyers:

James Thorndyke; Nick Bitel; Emma Shaw


‘Strong industry knowledge. Provide practical and commercially-minded advice.’

‘James Thorndyke consistently provides sensible and practical guidance and is excellent in client management matters.’

Zane Shihab has very strong industry knowledge.’

‘Strong sports law team with good experience in niche areas like ticketing.’

‘James Thorndyke and Zane Shihab are both exceptional lawyers.’

‘An extremely impressive sports law team, with outstanding clients. The team adopts a very hands-on, client focused approach.’

‘James Thorndyke is an excellent partner: very clever and excellent on the law, while remaining very commercially minded and client focused.’

Emma Shaw is an excellent practitioner, with skill well beyond her years of qualification. A star in the making.’

Key clients


All England Lawn Tennis Club (Championships) Limited

London Marathon Events Limited

Rugby Football Union

Chelsea Football Club

World Marathon Majors

Racehorse Owners Association

W Series

Thoroughbred Group

Azam Media Limited

One Football GmbH

Joymo AS

Citizen Ticket

Blackburn Rovers Football Club

Bloodstock Industry Forum

Copa 90

Brighton Marathon

Work highlights

  • Advised The All England Lawn Tennis Club (Championships) Limited (AELTC) on the legal issues arising in connection with their proposed decision to prevent Russian and Belarusian tennis players from competing at the Wimbledon Championships 2022.
  • Advised London Marathon Events Limited year-round, culminating in the London Marathon, including drafting and negotiating all commercial contracts required to stage the event, running the brand protection programme and providing advice on the full range of commercial, data and intellectual property matters.
  • Advised the AELTC on all matters in relation to the staging of The Championships, including ticketing, running AELTC’s anti-infringement policy to prevent unauthorised sales of tickets as well as hospitality and brand protection programmes.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

'An excellent team of very committed professionals', Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner‘s sports offering spans corporate restructuring, insolvency and dispute resolution. The experienced Graham Shear focuses on a range of arbitration matters concerning FA rule K issues, the appointment of presidents of governing bodies, media-related issues, and corporate as well as financial issues. Marc Trottier is the key contact for financial transactions and insolvency support across a range of sports. Sports technology and data specialist Marcus Pearl and Andrew Street are further key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Graham Shear

Other key lawyers:

Marc Trottier; Marcus Pearl; Andrew Street;


‘Experts in complex football/commercial disputes in particular.’

‘Graham Shear is one of the most experienced and knowledgable lawyers in the sector.’

‘An excellent team of very committed professionals that absolutely gave me wonderful input and confidence.’

‘Andrew Street totally and one hundred percent professional and full of enthusiasm with confidence in his approach. I cannot praise enough to bring my points across. Excellent.’

‘BCLP really know their stuff and can call on knowledge from all sports to add value to their advice. I have worked closely with them on international football arbitrations. Have been super impressed by their service.’

‘Graham Shear is one of the most connected partners in the sports law world. Constantly in demand and on the go. Andy Street is a smooth operator who understands sport integrally.’

‘The firm is a top leader firm in this sector. They provide multiple assistance and work referral on this matter, and their strong capabilities and contacts make them absolutely reliable. Flexibility, reasonable ratio service/billing and agility makes them one of the best law firm in UK for sport practice.’

‘Marc Trottier and Graham Shear are the BCLP colleagues working with us in several matters. They assess great experience on this sector, and they provide full legal service on any sport matter that may arise. They are very well-positioned and recognized in the market sector.’

Key clients

Rights & Media Funding Limited

Ingesport UK Ltd

The FA

Julie Palmer, Andrew Hook and Julian Pitts of Begbies Traynor (administrators of WRFC Trading Limited)

Fédération Internationale de Ski

Kia Joorabchian / Sports Invest UK Limited

ICM Stellar Sports

Work highlights

  • Advised the administrators of Worcester Warriors through a formal insolvency process.
  • Advised Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) in the appeal brought against it in CAS by four national ski associations.
  • Advising Ingesport UK Ltd in relation to its expansion into the UK.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP‘s sports practice provides a range of clients - notably including football clubs - advice on sports injury. Manchester-based Jan Levinson specialises in commercial dispute resolution, focusing on sponsorship agreements, commercial contracts, and contractual employment issues. Levinson regularly advises football clubs on vicarious and employer’s liability matters. London-based commercial expert Tim Ryan is a name to note for sponsorship and event management agreements, while Dublin-based Gary Rice regularly supports Sport Ireland and The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board to develop and draft regulations pertaining to anti-doping. Birmingham-based Richard Rowe routinely works on insurance and sports injury mandates. Stationed in Leeds, Tim Pickworth is also a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Jan Levinson

Other key lawyers:

Tim Ryan; Gary Rice; Richard Rowe; Tim Pickworth

Key clients

Gov Legal Department on behalf of the Sec of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Sport Ireland

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board

A household name leisure business

Zurich and its insured bowls club

Joshua Murray

Work highlights

  • Advising The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.
  • Advised a former Manchester City youth player regarding acclaim for a career-ending injury as a result of a challenge made by an opposition player when playing for England under-16s against Northern Ireland under-16s.
  • Advised the Government Legal Department on behalf of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in relation to an IT services dispute.

Fladgate LLP

James Earl leads Fladgate LLP‘s commercial, sports and IP team, working with various asset management companies on financial investments in the football sector. Earl also advises football clubs on corporate and financial transactions, as well as negotiating various licensing, sponsorship and partnership agreements for motorsport clients. Alex Haffner advises clients across a range of sports on the expansion and acquisition of technology-led solutions, and is also a key contact for clients seeking advice on competition law. Dispute resolution specialist Mark Buckley takes on a range of contentious instructions, including fraudulent misrepresentations involving the sale of sports broadcasting rights.

Practice head(s):

James Earl; Alex Haffner; Mark Buckley


Top firm in all aspects related to sports, with particular knowledge and experience in financing and corporate deals.’

James Earl is the key man. Totally excellent.

Key clients

Close Brothers Group plc

Watford Football Club

Jota Developments Ltd.

Ace Urban

Limelight Sports Group Ltd

Rugby Players Association

Frederik Vesti

Round Room Live

Scottish Professional Football League

Guild Esports plc

AI Health

Swimming Nature

Work highlights

  • Advising Close Brothers Group plc on finance and investment transactions within the football sector in the UK, Europe and globally.
  • Representing two individual defendants in a c.USD$700 million claim for fraudulent misrepresentation and unlawful means conspiracy relating to the sale of a sports television broadcasting rights business.
  • Supporting Watford FC on a range of transactions during 2021, including a very significant financing and a number of transfer receivable transactions.

Fletcher Sports Law

Manchester-headquartered Fletcher Sports Law is known for assisting football agents, intermediaries, players, managers and brands on a range of matters including, transfers, agency disputes, endorsement deals, image rights and disciplinary issues. The experienced Paul Fletcher leads the practice, and is supported by Tom Grant – whose client roster spans the worlds of boxing, football, and rugby, among other sports.

Practice head(s):

Paul Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

Tom Grant

Work highlights


Harrogate-based McCormicks leverages the experience and standing of Peter McCormick, chairman of the legal advisory group of the Premier League, to advise the elite league on a range of matters, including owners’ and directors’ tests during club takeovers and acquisitions, third party ownership disputes, and the stewardship and policing of stadiums. Sports team head James Towler is also a key contact for the Premier League, taking on a number of corporate and commercial instructions, including sponsorship, media rights and data protection agreements. David Birks, head of the commercial disputes and sports litigation team, is a further name to note.

Practice head(s):

Peter McCormick; James Towler; David Birks


‘Deeply rooted in the football industry, excellent for both contentious and non-contentious work.’

‘Peter McCormick is almost certainly unique in the football law sector, given his very senior position within the Football Association.’

‘James Towler knows his way around the industry and is careful, courteous, and efficient.’

Their contact list, respect and industry knowledge is massive. They immediately get to the point and are practical and pragmatic in approach.’

Key clients

The Premier League

The Premier League Charitable Fund

Leeds United FC

The Bostik League

Professional Game Match Officials Ltd

Frank Boddy

The Ripley Castle Shoot Group

Visit Harrogate

Harrogate Town AFC

Walsall FC

McLaren Formula One

Otley RUFC

Leeds Rhinos RLFC

Robert Jones

Liam Botham

Norwich City FC


The Southern League

The Northern Premier League

Wycombe Wanderers FC

Lord Ian Botham

Work highlights

  • Advising the Premier League on a range of matters.
  • Assisting Leeds United FC with a number of disputes.
  • Assisting members of the public and shoots with applications for Shotgun and Firearms Certificates, including appeals against the refusal or revocation of such certificates.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Advising football teams and athletes across a range of sports - notably including sailing and yacht races - on brand protection, employment, reputational and commercial disputes and issues are routine instructions for Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP‘s sports team. Practice head Andrew Haywood focuses on employment and disciplinary issues, while Richard Marshall regularly works on contentious and contractual matters in football - often with a multijurisdictional aspect. Nick Humphreys is a key contact for managers, coaches and backroom staff in the football industry, undertaking matters pertaining to high court and employment tribunal litigations. James Severn and Jeremy Clarke-Williams are key names to note for agent-player disputes and defamation claims, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Haywood

Other key lawyers:

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


‘Nick Humphreys is a beacon of good sense and commercial nous in the world of sports law. The hardest working lawyer in London, he gets things done. Somehow he manages to be fun to work with too.’

‘PMC is a very strong sporting team – real depth of knowledge in manager disputes and football arbitration in particular. Very personable and commercially astute team too.’

‘Nick Humphreys is brilliant, a joy to work with. James Severn is incredibly hard-working, knows his stuff.’

‘Andrew Haywood is an excellent employment law specialist, who majors on discrimination allegations in sport.’

‘Richard Marshall is a hard-nosed commercial litigator who you want on your side.’

Key clients

League Managers Association

Emma Raducanu

British Elite Athletes Association

Mahindra Racing UK Limited (“Mahindra Racing”)

Gordon Murray Group

Sport Resolutions

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

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

Twelve Consultancy Group

Players, staff and estates of the same of former employees of Associação Chapecoense de Futebol

I Trust Sport

Dominic Ball (football player)

Grey Sports Group

Rathbone Boxing Club

Work highlights

  • Advised Dominic Ball on his transfer from Queens Park Rangers to Ipswich Town.
  • Instructed to assist Emma Raducanu implement a global brand protection and enforcement programme across multiple continents.
  • Acting for Brad Galinson in the majority share acquisition of Gillingham Football Club.

Russells Solicitors

Russells Solicitors‘ sports team is chaired by the firm’s litigation head Steven Tregear, whose sport-specific expertise includes handling bout agreements for box office fights. Tregear also works on intersecting media and sports-related reputation management matters, as well as contractual and copyright instructions. Arriving from RPC in December 2022, Henry Priestley‘s capabilities encompass IP, breach of contract and reputational management issues. Corporate and commercial lawyer Sam Willmott is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Steven Tregear

Other key lawyers:

Sam Willmott; Henry Priestley; Alice Rudge


‘They have an excellent client base in terms of sports and media clients.’

‘Steven Tregear is a star solicitor with a great reputation for results and tenacity.’

‘Really excellent sports team with a deep understanding of the sector and an extensive network of client relationships.’

‘Steven Tregear is one of the leading names in sports and entertainment litigation; he has seen it all and knows how the world works. Alice Rudge — a bright, hardworking associate and a pleasure to work with.’

‘The speed of their response and an ability to grasp complicated issues quickly.’

‘An ability to ask probing questions aimed at getting to the heart of the matter as quickly as possible.’

‘Russells really do go above and beyond when it comes to reactive client care, working with them is simple and with great results, which is why they are my go to with spiralling crisis issues.’

Key clients

Frank Warren

Queensberry Promotions Limited

Wasserman Boxing Limited

Ian Wright

Derek Chisora

David Haye

Hayemaker Limited

Modest! Golf Limited

Lord Daniel Finkelstein OBE

Barbara Charone

TaP Sports & Entertainment Limited

Stephen Kutner

Work highlights

  • Advising Queensberry Promotions Limited on negotiations for a Bout Agreement with Dillian Whyte relating to his WBC World Heavyweight Championship fight with Tyson Fury at Wembley Stadium in April 2022.
  • Acting for British heavyweight boxer, Derek Chisora, in negotiating a Bout Agreement for his WBC World Heavyweight Championship fight against Tyson Fury on December 3rd 2022 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
  • Advising sports agency and athlete management business, TaP Sports & Entertainment Limited, which represents a number of leading international footballers, on further aspects of its corporate structure and on employment arrangements.


Sheridans draws on its combined traditional sports and digital tech practices to advise a diverse roster of clients, including footballers and eSports stakeholders. Practice head Andrew Nixon, who regularly works in conjunction with newly promoted partner Nii Anteson, frequently advises sports data companies on contentious matters. Anteson also regularly supports Daniel Geey and Chris Paget on football transfer negotiations involving elite players. Geey, in particular, is a go-to figure for high-profile female footballers and pundits seeking advice on sponsorship and endorsement deals. Jonny Madill is also a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Nixon

Other key lawyers:

Nii Anteson; Daniel Geey; Chris Paget; Jonny Madill


‘The team is very responsive and well versed in a variety of areas that we needed assistance in. I was happy to see diversity within their attorneys at the higher levels. They were very patient with me (an American attorney) as we worked through some of the differences in US v UK law.’

‘Nii was incredibly responsive and knew who to go to within the firm to answer some very nuanced questions. He was good at communicating what needed to be communicated, and I did not feel he was doing work for the sake of billing.’

‘A joy of a team to work with. Clever, energetic, modern and refreshing. Cost-effective, reliable, and becomes friends to clients.’

Key clients


Phil Foden

Declan Rice

Alphonso Davies

Hector Bellerin

Barnsley Football Club

D.C. United Football Club

Sport England and UK Sport

Gloucester Rugby

Harlequins Rugby

Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club

Wasps Rugby

EuroLeague Basketball

Tennis Data Innovations




Ralf Rangnick

Swansea City FC

Antonio ‘Toni’ Rudiger

Work highlights

  • Advising Sportradar on its landmark competition law claim against Football DataCo and Genius Sports and simultaneous defence of related private law claims brought by the latter two.

TSC Legal

Specialist sports law firm TSC Legal is known for its event creation, planning, and hosting work across a wide range of sports, including motorsports, golf, sailing, polo and tennis. Practice co-chair Andy Korman and Rob Jones work together on the management of worldwide tenders and streamlining events rights, as well as drafting hosting agreements. Korman is also the key contact for sports marketing contracts. David Becker's practice handling high-profile cricket-related disputes. Founding partner Robert Datnow notably assists various governing bodies with regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Andy Korman; Robert Datnow

Other key lawyers:

Rob Jones; David Becker

Key clients


eSkootr Championship

2023 Cycling World Championships

Professional Triathletes Organisation

Scottish Rugby Union

British Universities and Colleges Sport

Pindar Partners

Sports federation IP commercialisation

National Governing Body event dispute

Work highlights

  • Drafted a hosting agreement for the NFL for the purpose of bidding cities, venue owners and local governments.
  • Advised eSkootr Championship on franchise, event hosting and rider agreements.
  • Supported on organising the 2023 Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland by working on negotiating sponsorship agreements with public sector funders.

Wiggin LLP

Wiggin LLP focuses on the global purchase, exploitation and protection of high-value commercial media rights. Practice head Ross Sylvester, who frequently works in conjunction with legal director Sarah Drake, advises both international media groups and various competition rights holders on media rights arrangements and licensing mandates. Sarah MacDonald handles partnership agreements between sponsors, athletes and sporting events, while Sean James is a key contact for sporting investor companies on athlete sponsorships.

Practice head(s):

Ross Sylvester

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Macdonald; Sarah Drake; Sean James


‘Very practical and commercially driven advice. Up to date with the latest regulations.’

‘Ross is passionate about sports law. So knowledgeable and resourceful. He is professional and available. He knows how to simplify and navigate the complexities of sports law. I had the pleasure to work with him on so many projects. We worked closely during the world cup and the result was fantastic, our company was able to make the best out of the FIFA World Cup without getting any infringement notices.’

Key clients

DAZN Group

Manchester United TV


Premiership Rugby


Stats Perform

Formula E

Two Circles

Racecourse Media Group

FootballCo Media

Work highlights

  • Advised new client European Professional Club Rugby on the tendering of its media rights and conclusion of agreements with each of its major broadcast partners, including BT Sport (TNT), ITV, RTE, Viaplay and SuperSport.
  • Advised DAZN on its long-term ground-breaking deal with the NFL for the operation of its Game Pass International OTT service.
  • Advised Vodafone on its major sports sponsorships, including its multi-year partnerships with Wimbledon, Emma Raducanu and WRU.


Dentons‘ sports team is headed up by corporate and M&A specialist Richard Barham. Supported by Matthew Tinger, Barnham regularly works with investors and owners of elite football clubs on acquisitions, investments, and sales, and also provides assistance to clients on the commercial and regulatory aspects of football event bids. Dan Bodle is a key contact for clients seeking advice on football club ownership arbitration disputes. TMT specialists Georgina Kirkwood and Rose McDowell are key names to note for their work on sports broadcasting deals.

Practice head(s):

Richard Barham

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Tinger; Dan Bodle; Georgina Kirkwood; Rose McDowell

Key clients

FIFA World Cup Qatar

St James Holdings Limited

Southend City Council


World-ranked bridge player

Emma Capital

Esports Awards Limited

KSL Capital Partners

Fédération Internationale de Football Association

Work highlights

  • Advised Mike Ashley’s St James Holdings Limited on the sale of Newcastle United (NUFC) to a joint venture involving the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers following settlement of NUFC’s arbitration against the English Premier League.
  • Provided commercial and regulatory advice to Viaplay on its acquisition of Premier Sports from Setanta Sports.
  • Advising Southend City Council on Southend United’s proposal to build a new stadium, hotel, football academy and residential development at Fossetts Farm, and redevelop the existing stadium at Roots Hall as a new residential quarter.

Hamlins LLP

Hamlins LLP‘s sports team frequently takes on corporate and commercial mandates, spanning corporate structuring, broadcast rights and sponsorship deals for clients across a range of sports, including sailing, cricket, athletics and football. Team head Matthew Pryke is sought out by clients for assistance on a diverse array of matters, such as sports events management, broadcast and promoter agreements and regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Pryke


‘They’re a fantastic team – always give fantastic support and advice, great on comms, very prompt and efficient with the work involved.’

‘Matthew Pryke is supremely professional and high-performing, he is a brilliant lawyer, combining immense knowledge with laser-sharp analysis and a warm, reassuring manner.’

Key clients

Oracle Racing Inc.


The England and Wales Cricket Board

General Sports Worldwide

Morecambe FC

Professional Triathletes Organisation

David Garrido

Recreational Sporting Limited

Lowdown Media Limited

Austin Cycles Limited

F1 Alpine

Racing Past Media

Work highlights

  • Advised SailGP on the creation of a fan-owned racing team, which involved corporate structuring, broadcast rights, sponsorship opportunities and overseeing the participation agreement.
  • Assisted the England and Wales Cricket Board with financial arrangements and strategic advice regarding the global expansion, development and corporate structure of The Hundred series and associated commercial assets.
  • Supported the Professional Triathletes Organisation with a broadcasting rights partnership with Warner Bros, showcasing on-demand coverage of the PTO Tour in 50 territories across Europe.

Linklaters LLP

Linklaters LLP‘s sports sector group, co-headed by Julian Davies and Tom Cassels, notably advises on structured investments into football clubs as well as disciplinary, regulatory and competition law issues in both football and F1. David Martin provides support on matters concerning investments in rugby teams and competitions. Shamin Choudhury is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Julian Davies; Tom Cassels

Other key lawyers:

David Martin; Shamin Choudhury

Key clients

Sixth Street Partners, LLC

MLA Sports, LLC


The Welsh Rugby Union Limited

JD Sports Fashion plc

Football Finance Group

Sir Ben Ainslie and Land Rover Team


Citigroup Global Markets

Barclays Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Sixth Street Partners on its multi-million-Euro investment and agreement with Real Madrid C.F. and Legends, with the objective of elevating the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium as a unique venue and a worldwide benchmark for leisure and entertainment.
  • Assisted MLA Sports, LLC and Mark Attanasio as English counsel with the acquisition of a minority stake in championship club Norwich City Football Club.
  • Supporting Audi on transactional and certain other related matters to facilitate its entry into F1.

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

With the acquisition of Solesbury Gay‘s sports team in October 2022, Payne Hicks Beach LLP continues to grow its full-service sports practice. The team is headed up by disputes specialist Mark Gay, who advises a wide-ranging roster of governing bodies, motorsport teams, and individual athletes on a range of disciplinary, contractual, and commercial disputes. Jonathan Gatward takes on employment, IP and sponsorship arrangements for an array of clients, with a particular specialism in the sailing space. Dominic Crossley heads up the dispute resolution, privacy and media law teams, while Hanna Basha notably advises footballers and boxers on privacy and defamation issues. James Townsend works on intersecting sport and employment law matters. Legal director Nick Grant is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Mark Gay

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Gatward; Dominic Crossley; James Townsend; Hanna Basha; Nick Grant


‘The team are always willing to help and go the extra mile. ’

Mark and his team were very professional and understanding to our needs. They did a great job and helped us throughout the process in every way possible.’

Key clients

UK Athletics

Otmar Szafnauer

Dillian Whyte

Alpine F1 Team

Pineapple Dance Studios

The English Football League

IIAA Limited

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Giles Scott

FIA Vice President: Graham Stoker

DNA Fit Life Sciences Limited

Skills and More SARL

Automobile Club Syria

Work highlights

  • Advised Automobile Club Syria on their appeal to the FIA International Court.

Simons Muirhead Burton

Marc Sobol leads Simons Muirhead Burton‘s intersecting sports and media team. Sobol advises clients on investments and sponsorships across a range of sports, while seasoned litigator Stephen Shotnes notably advises football clubs on regulatory and contentious matters involving players and managers. Simon Goldberg – who serves as head of the media and business rights team in addition to co-head of the corporate, commercial and finance department –  is a key port of call for the Professional Squash Association on all its commercial, regulatory and contractual requirements.

Practice head(s):

Marc Sobol

Other key lawyers:

Simon Goldberg; Stephen Shotnes

Work highlights

  • Negotiating and advising Cage Warriors upon due diligence, shareholder agreements and all related matters on a prospective significant investment.
  • Advising the global squash federation on an investment and strategic partnership with TWG Global.
  • Ongoing advice relating to the pay-TV and free-to-air sports broadcasting deals on European Professional Club Rugby.

Burges Salmon LLP

The Bristol-based sports team at Burges Salmon LLP, led by Jeremy Dickerson, is known for advising clients in the horse racing, polo, and motorsports spaces with advice on media rights and sponsorship arrangements. The interdisciplinary team, which includes employment specialists Luke Bowery and Dominic Davis, as well as commercial experts Helen Scott-Lawler and David Varney, assists on employment matters and commercial transactions for clients in the worlds of golf and football.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Dickerson

Other key lawyers:

Luke Bowery; Dominic Davis; Helen Scott-Lawler; David Varney

Key clients

Trivela Group LLC

PGA European Tour

Racecourse Technical Services Limited

The Racecourse Association

Fakenham Racecourse

Work highlights

  • Acting for Trivela Group LLC on its acquisition of a majority interest in Walsall Football Club in June 2022.
  • Acting for the PGA European Tour on employment aspects of two commercial projects this year; A collaboration agreement with a sports marketing agency relating to tickets, hospitality, consumer experience and associated marketing/technology; and a services agreement for the provision of contact centre and associated customer support in connection with ticket sales for their tournaments.
  • Acting for Fakenham Racecourse on its new multi-year, media rights arrangements with Racecourse Media Group.


Bolstered by the addition of dispute resolution specialist Shiv Haria-Shah at the start of 2022, Fieldfisher notably advises a number of national governing bodies on governance investigations and framework implementations. Andrew Sanderson and Patrick Cannon co-head the sport team; Sanderson is a key contact for the FA’s disciplinary team, while the Cannon advises clients in rugby, golf, motor racing, tennis and cricket on commercial strategies. IP protection and enforcement expert Nick Rose is a further key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Sanderson; Patrick Cannon

Other key lawyers:

Shiv Haria-Shah; Nick Rose


‘Fieldfisher have developed a solid understanding of the data protection requirements of our business and can provide big picture and bespoke, discrete advice with equal measure.’

‘Shiv Haria-Shah is truly exceptional.’

‘Not only is Shiv a market leader in terms of expertise but his ability to tap in to your businesses needs, understanding nuances of the sport and regulation is second to none.’

‘Shiv has the ability to understand the landscape and provide advice that considers all commercial aspects. When providing the advice or guidance, Shiv would do so in a succinct / digestible manner, summarising difficult and complex issues in a way that was easy to understand and relay to the rest of the business.’

‘Beyond the exceptional legal work, Shiv is a truly wonderful person who operates with the utmost integrity and respect at all times. I cannot recommend Shiv highly enough.’

‘The Fieldfisher team really invest in getting to know your business, and that is very important to us. It also means that it creates efficiencies further down the line in both fees and time it takes to do work.’

‘Shiv is a great partner who invests time in relationships.’

Key clients

England Boxing

Genius Sport Ltd

The Football Association

Peloton Interactive, Inc.

Liverpool Football Club

Work highlights

  • Supporting the FA Disciplinary team over the last two seasons with multiple disciplinary hearings.
  • Advising Liverpool Football Club on various technology-related matters, as well as acting for them in a wider capacity on privacy matters including terms and conditions for LFC’s mobile app.
  • Conducted an investigation for England Boxing in relation to the incorporation and operation of a regional boxing association following numerous complaints, threats of litigation and dysfunction.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Sponsorship and partnership agreements for sponsors, competition rights holders and team competitors across football, golf, F1 and the Paralympics are frequent mandates for Hogan Lovells International LLP‘s interdisciplinary sports team. Richard Welfare, who heads up the practice, is regularly supported by IP and TMT specialist Sahira Khwaja. Penny Powell is a name to note for motorsport-related M&A instructions, while head of the real estate practice Daniel Norris is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Richard Welfare

Other key lawyers:

Sahira Khwaja; Penny Powell; Daniel Norris


‘The team at Hogan Lovells is excellent to work with. Responsive and approachable, whether it’s a big or a small ask.’

‘As ever, Richard Welfare remains a fantastic person to work with and the rest of his team. They provide sound guidance and advice and are always happy to help.’

‘Richard Welfare knows our business and our products. He has written contract templates for us, which makes it super efficient to get legal advice during contract negotiation.

Key clients

Asahi Europe & International

British Paralympic Association

Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK Limited

Mars Petcare UK

Crown Pet Foods

Mars Food UK

Sport England

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby

International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF)

International Paralympic Committee

Work highlights

  • Advised Asahi Europe & International Limited on a number of partnership arrangements including its sponsorship of the City Football Group, the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome and a multi-year sponsorship of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team.
  • Advising the British Paralympic Association on a range of issues, such as the drafting and negotiation of partnership agreements with existing and new sponsors and putting in place contracts for all of on the ground operations in Paris ahead of the 2024 Paralympic games.
  • Supporting Sport England with several major funding schemes that were established to provide support to a wide range of sports during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Howard Kennedy LLP

Lois Langton draws on her experience of heading the family law team to lead Howard Kennedy LLP‘s sports group on matters concerning high-net-worth-individuals and high-profile athletes. Criminal, business and regulatory specialist Kyle Phillips is a key contact for client defences following regulatory breaches, namely in the eSports space. Joel Leigh - an expert in complex commercial and professional negligence claims - also deals with contentious issues in the eSports, horse racing and motorsports arenas. Employment practitioner Sam Murray-Hinde provides key support to the team.

Practice head(s):

Lois Langton

Other key lawyers:

Kyle Philips; Joel Leigh; Sam Murray-Hinde


‘The team has strong experience in the e-sports sector.’

‘Joel Leigh is extremely practical, strategic, and personable. His overall approach, including to negotiations, is highly effective at delivering results for his clients.’

‘The sports team is second to none for sports cases with a commercial core. The team are seasoned litigators, with particular expertise in football cases – although their knowledge of sports law goes well beyond one sport. An absolute go-to for clubs, footballers and managers alike.’

‘Joel Leigh is a star individual in this field. He has impressive knowledge of all commercial-related sports issues, including the complex insolvency issues that so often arise in this field. He is a seasoned litigator, who is second to none on client care and legal acumen. Joel, in turn, surrounds himself with an excellent team who are always ready to help.’

‘Joel Leigh is a superb litigator and an outstanding and balanced lawyer. He has built an impressive specialism in sports disputes, acting for well known professional and amateur sports people. Incredibly easy to engage with, he always delivers for his clients, and his personality enables him to steer his clients through the enormous stress of litigation with aplomb.’

‘First-class capabilities across various interlocking specialisms.’

‘Sam Murray-Hinde is an excellent leader, her specialism spans the employment-sports spaces, and she is absolutely on top of her brief and always a pleasure to work with.’

Work highlights

Keoghs LLP

Frequently supported by practitioners in Liverpool,  Keoghs LLP - noted for its expertise in sports-related medical and healthcare claims - has considerable experience supporting clients in football, rugby and equine sports.. Head of the sport and healthcare team Sian Davies is a go-to figure for reputational damage claims, advising clients on general clinical governance issues and disciplinary matters following treatment and failure in the diagnosis of athletes. Consultant Daniel Meltzer, who regularly works in conjunction with Oonagh Webster, is instructed by numerous football clubs and its insurers, particularly in relation to negligence claims. Ian Carroll is a key contact for football clubs and gymnastics organisations seeking advice on abuse claims. All named lawyers are based in London.

Practice head(s):

Sian Davies

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Meltzer; Oonagh Webster; Ian Carroll


‘An extremely efficient, capable and knowledgeable team.’

‘Daniel Meltzer is a leading player in sports law with a superb nose for litigation honed by many years in practice.’

‘Oonagh Webster is extremely bright and knowledgeable about the law and the way in which it is developing.’

Work highlights

Keystone Law

Jamie Horner, Peter Millichip and Rachel Flynn are among the key names at Keystone Law for sport. Horner advises motor racing car teams on a range of disputes, including issues with former drivers, sanctions issues and commercial deals that fall through. With the arrival of Millichip from Coleridge Law in 2022, the firm has deepened its offering to clients in the cricket space. Flynn is a go-to name in equine sports, working on contractual and employment arrangements. Gerard Cukier is a key contact for clients seeking advice on overlapping sport and media reputation management matters.

Other key lawyers:

Gerard Cukier; Jamie Horner; Peter Millichip; Rachel Flynn


‘Experienced team with long-established, high-profile clients.’

‘Great client skills and enormous stock-in-trade from a long successful practice.’

‘An excellent and nimble outfit, who are very willing and able to work together at all levels to provide an excellent service to clients.’

‘Jamie Horner is outstanding in the non-contentious and contentious sports field – in particular motorsports and motor racing. Charming and extremely able, he is an excellent lawyer.’

Key clients

TF Sport Ltd

Fenda Solutions Limited

Jonathan Clarke

Flipper`s Roller Boogie Palace London Ltd

Hyderabad Motor Racing PVT Ltd

Kokoro Performance Limited

Mumbai Falcons Racing Limited

Arden Motorsport Limited

Kokoro Performance Limited

English Willow


TBA plc

In2Racing Limited

Kofler Group

The Racing Foundation

Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Jockey Club Racecourses

European Breeders Fund

Oliver St Lawrence Bloodstock Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising TF Sport Ltd on a dispute with a professional driver retained by the team, which was successfully resolved without recourse to litigation.
  • Assisted thoroughbred Breeders’ Association on ‘first call’ advice to members and maintenance of employment documents.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright‘s sports law team, led by corporate and M&A specialist Stephen Rigby, regularly advises clients on M&A and private equity-driven investment transactions in sports teams and leagues, namely basketball and football. Corporate practitioner Claire O’Donnell is noted for her focus on corporate governance, investment and regulatory advice for clients in motorsports.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Rigby

Other key lawyers:

Claire O’Donnell

Key clients

Envision Virgin Racing

British Racing Drivers Club Limited

Crusaders Cricket Australia Inc.

Southampton FC

London Development Agency

Société Générale

777 Partners LLC

Modern Times Group

Work highlights

  • Advised 777 Partners LLC on the acquisition of a majority stake in Hertha BSC GmbH & Co.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Matthew Bosworth, a dispute resolution lawyer who heads up Russell-Cooke LLP‘s regulation and sports law team, is a key contact for football teams seeking advice on reputation management, professional disciplinary matters and the protection of IP rights. Frequently working with the support of Sheetul Sowdagur, Bosworth frequently steers the practice on mandates concerning the protection of IP rights for international sports broadcasters, and the defence of individual clients against safeguarding claims. Charities and social business expert Pippa Garland advises charities on donation-sponsorship agreements with sports teams.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Bosworth

Other key lawyers:

Sheetul Sowdagur; Pippa Garland; Peter Cadman


‘Understated firm that do the work and don’t brag about it. Client interests come first and they never seek publicity. Adept across a number of different sports, from greyhound racing through fencing to Premier League football. Act in sports involving disabled athletes, from selection issues to classification for the Olympics. Many high-profile Premier League clubs and players as clients, covering the whole spectrum of disputes in sport.’

‘Peter Cadman, the doyen of sports law solicitors, but who doesn’t brag about it. Matt Bosworth efficient, practical a heavy tackling enforcer when needed, or the creative midfielder if that’s best.’

‘A strong, collaborative talented team with strength and depth across all bases.’

‘Sheetul Sowdagur is a stand-out star and a go to for cases in this field.’

‘Sound advice provided in a timely manner. Personal and very friendly.’

‘Responsive and friendly.’

‘What makes the individuals that we work with at Russell-Cooke standout is the quality of the services. They have a desire to do what is best for the client, understanding our goals and taking the time to identify the most appropriate legal route.’

Key clients


British Fencing

Cobham Rugby Football Club

Sport Resolutions UK

Surbiton Hockey Club

Barnes Rugby Football Club

Thames Ditton Cricket Club

Kick It Out


Work highlights

  • Supporting Sky UK Limited with the protection of IP Rights in live sports broadcasting.
  • Advising UK for UNHCR in relation to the Nottingham Forest FC shirt sponsorship deal for the 2022-2023 season.

Stephenson Harwood

Insolvencies in the worlds of football and motorsports are key focus areas Stephenson Harwood‘s cross-disciplinary sports law offering. Team head Ben Sigler - a commercial litigation specialist - advises clients on alleged breaches of sponsorship agreements, copyright infringement issues and impropriety claims in relation to event bids. Insolvency and dispute resolution expert Julian Cahn is a key contact for trustees of athletes, while Don Brown and Nick Axup are noted for their respective focus on finance and restructuring matters, especially in football and cricket.

Practice head(s):

Ben Sigler

Other key lawyers:

Julian Cahn; Nick Axup


Excellent client management, very commercial, and understands client’s needs and position. First-class knowledge and experience. Total availability in a crisis. Cannot be faulted.’


Key clients

Trustees in Bankruptcy of Boris Becker


European Football Club

A Spanish Sports Company

Otium Entertainment Group Limited

Coventry City Football Club

Privatstiftung Lauda

bd-c Chase Bidco Limited

Grab+Pull Fightwear Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Mr Becker’s Trustees in Bankruptcy.
  • Advising IQONIQ Group S.A.R.L in relation to a sponsorship agreement dispute with CPFC Limited.
  • Advising a European football club on an loan from a global investment bank.