Sport in North West

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP acts for clients across the sports sector, including professional organisations, household-name sportspeople, and Premier League clubs, handling a diverse range of work, including commercial agreements and contracts, Covid-19 responses, media and intellectual property disputes, diversity, and integrity issues. The team is led by ‘knowledgeable and experienced‘ Lydia Edgar, a senior partner with particular expertise in employment and governance issues. Director Andrew McGregor has been actively advising the industry on Covid responses.

Practice head(s):

Lydia Edgar

Other key lawyers:

Andrew McGregor


‘Excellent team led by Lydia Edgar – very knowledgeable and experienced within our sector and clearly understand our customer groups. Always very quick to add value wherever possible and make us aware of emerging trends and potential issues.’

‘Lydia Edgar is an excellent business lead and always exceeds expectations in terms of understanding the brief and delivering the service on budget and on time. The rest of the team are clearly experts in their field and we have every confidence is signpost our customers to our support line.’

‘I am a client of Andrew McGregor and have been for a number of years. He is the most efficient and knowledgeable solicitor I have dealt with. I am convinced he is the industry leader in applying the law to achieve the desired outcome.’

Key clients

Liverpool Football Club

Leicester City Football Club

Barnsley Football Club

Lawn Tennis Association

Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group

Wasserman Media Group

Midas Sports Management

Lancashire County Cricket Club

Commonwealth Games Federation

Ben Stokes

Wigan Rugby League Club Limited

Coleen Rooney

Everton Football Club Women Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the LTA (after a competitive tender process) on delivering support to its 2000+ clubs and coaches by way of a dedicated helpline.
  • Advised Liverpool on the Anfield Stadium expansion – The Club has applied for planning permission to expand the Anfield Road Stand and for a permanent consent for concerts and major (non-footballing) events at Anfield Stadium. t.
  • Advised, in conjunction with FC Business Magazine, a number of football clubs on Covid-19 adaptation and changes to rules and regulations.

Centrefield LLP

Specialist sports and media firm Centrefield LLP offers broad expertise across a range of sports, with particular strength in football, advising a number of Premier League and EFL clubs on transfers, contracts, and intermediary issues. Elsewhere, the firm advises clients in cricket and rugby, including clubs and professional associations, handling contentious and non-contentious work. The senior team includes Edward Canty, an expert on football governance issues, Matthew Bennett, who handles major transfers, disputes, and disciplinary cases in football, commercial sports specialist David Bentham, and Stuart Baird, who has a broad practice with a particular focus on immigration issues.

Practice head(s):

Edward Canty; David Bentham; Matthew Bennett; Stuart Baird


‘Matthew Bennett – very knowledgeable, calm and reassuring under pressure. Has done so much nothing phases him. David Bentham – very thorough lawyer and easy to deal with.’

‘Ability to build lasting relationships with their clients. They explain complex matters in a simple way that allows you to understand the best course of action to take and the reasoning behind their advice. Enjoyable personalities to work with and always a reassuring and confident manner in the way they work.’

‘Matthew Bennett – One of the best I have worked with, second to none knowledge of the football industry and its processes. Always able to understand the pros and cons of every scenario because of his experience and fundamentally a person that you trust and enjoy speaking and working with.’

An integrated team who are united in tackling the core business requirements in a professional and cohesive manner.


Key clients

Manchester United Football Club

Manchester City Football Club

Liverpool Football Club

The Professional Footballers’ Association

The Rugby Players’ Association

Super League

Major League Soccer

Leicester Tigers

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Celtic Football Club

Work highlights

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

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP offers a full service to an array of major sporting clients, acting on a national basis for high-profile clubs, sportspeople, and organisations, including the PFA. The firm advises clients on commercial contracts, sponsorship, and endorsement agreements, as well as handling international regulatory issues, football transfers, and dispute resolution, with practice co-head Mark Hovell a regular fixture at the CAS. Of particular note is the firm’s work on behalf of international footballers playing within the UK. Co-head Carol Couse advises top-level football clubs and players on contracts and regulatory issues. Senior associate Sarah Whyman has a strong focus on image rights contracts and sponsorship agreements.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hovell; Carol Couse

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Whyman; Phil Hutchinson


‘Mills & Reeve’s sports team is market-leading. The strength in-depth is rivalled by very few others in the market.’

‘Carol Couse is a go-to lawyer for disputes before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.’

‘Mark Hovell is an encyclopaedia when it comes to sports disciplinary and regulatory decisions and is a real asset to have on your side in any such dispute.’

‘Phil Hutchinson is quickly becoming one of the UK’s top sports disciplinary lawyers. He has an excellent list of clients and has been involved in some of the biggest cases in the last year or two. He always goes above and beyond what you would expect for his clients. He is market-leading when it comes to dealing with betting cases.’

Key clients

Professional Footballers’ Association

Watford FC

Glasgow Rangers

British Cycling

Lucy Bronze



International Ultrarunners Association

James Milner

White Rose Sports

Super League Europe

YM&U Agency

Steph Houghton

Sumit Sangwan

Work highlights

  • Advising a number of high-profile men and women’s football players on commercial contracts, sponsorship, and endorsement agreements.
  • Advising Rangers on the majority of its international football regulatory matters.
  • Advising British Cycling to advise on its return to sport protocols for its elite GB athletes, its various cycling disciplines and recreational cycling.


Brandsmiths acts for household-name clients in football and boxing, advising on commercial issues such as contracts, sponsorship agreements, and transfers. The firm's boxing practice is a standout, representing nationally-known fighters and promoters. The firm also represents clients in litigation, including defamation claims and anti-doping proceedings. Adam Morallee leads the team, and has particular expertise in football, boxing, and motorsport matters. Michael Forrester takes the lead on litigation.

Practice head(s):

Adam Morallee

Other key lawyers:

Michael Forrester




Key clients

Roberto Carlos

Joe Joyce, Guido Vianello and Kody Davies (S-Jam Boxing)

New Era Global Sports Management Limited

WMG Management Europe Limited

Moussa Dembele

Ben Foster

Michael Keane

Oldham Athletic (2004) Association Football Club Limited

Sir Mo Farah, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Adam Peaty, Adam Gemili, Dina Asher-Smith and others (“Rule 40GB Case”)

YM & U

Alex McCarthy

Steven Davis

Jeremie Frimpong

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Jade Jones

Liam Ridgewell

Mansa Sports Management Ltd

Elite Sports Management Ltd

Interstar Deporte

Consilium Sports Group

Bury AFC

Entourage Sports & Entertainment

OYS Sports Management


Laurence Bassini

Armand Traore

Jill Scott

Blue Carpet Management

Work highlights

  • Advising Wasserman and a number of their leading athletes on a variety of matters.
  • Advising French footballer Moussa Dembélé on a host of matters, including his transfer to Spanish giants Atletico Madrid from Olympique Lyonnais.
  • Advising former Olympic silver medallist heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce who presently holds the British, Commonwealth, European, WBC Silver, and WBO International heavyweight titles.

Fletcher Sports Law

Fletcher Sports Law is known for its representation of high-profile sportspeople, clubs, agencies, and player associations in a variety of matters, including contractual negotiations, commercial agreements, agency issues, and media matters, with major clients in football and boxing. The firm also represents clients in litigation relating to financial disputes and disciplinary issues. During 2020, the team was active in supporting clients through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including changes to contracts, pay cuts, and the pause of sporting operations in many areas. Paul Fletcher heads up the firm and is a highly renowned figure, particularly in football, while senior associate Tom Grant maintains a growing profile across pure sports law, media, and commercial matters.

Practice head(s):

Paul Fletcher


‘Fletcher Sports Law is exceptional in all aspects of Sports law.’

‘First class law firm that although specialist and boutique punches far above its weight especially in the sports market.’

‘Paul Fletcher’s knowledge of the football market is second to none. Acts for numerous premier league footballers and very effective. He has had great successes keeping famous sports persons out of court by early effective strategy, great at resolving matters in favour of his client without the need to go to court- especially in privacy and media cases.’

Paul Fletcher knows sport inside out.

Tom Grant is a good up and coming lawyer.‘”


Key clients

England Men’s Football Team

Adrian Lewis

Harry Kane

Josh Taylor

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Alexis Sanchez

Ovie Soko

Giovani Lo Celso

Luke Campbell

James Maddison

Work highlights

  • Paul Fletcher is currently instructed by the Players’ Committee (a group of senior squad members) of the England Football Team to advise them (and the rest of the England squad) in relation to the restructuring of the way in which The FA is able to exploit the image rights of the players.
  • Tom Grant is retained by unified light-welterweight world champion Josh Taylor to advise in relation to a variety of contractual and media matters, including his bout agreements in relation to his first world title defence against Apinum Khongsong.
  • Paul Fletcher advised (and continues to advise) Tottenham and England captain, Harry Kane, on a number of high-profile endorsement agreements over the past 12 months, including Cadburys, Hugo Boss and Samsung.

Gateley Plc

Gateley Plc advises sports clubs, governing bodies, and brand owners on a range of sports law issues, including brand licensing, stadium developments, commercial contracts, and Covid-19 response. The firm has particular strength in football, acting for six Premier League clubs, and also works with clients in netball, rugby, and skateboarding, among others. The team is led by John Burns, who specialises in commercial sports law issues, including contracts, merchandising, and image rights protection and enforcement. Nick Murrills focuses on disputes, representing clubs and key individuals.

Practice head(s):

John Burns

Other key lawyers:

Nick Murrills

Key clients

England Netball

Skateboard GB

Northampton Saints

Simply Sports Management

British Orienteering

Everton Football Club

West Ham United

Manchester Giants

Manchester City

Red Strike Sports

Work highlights

  • Advising All England Netball on a safe return to action following the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Advised Skateboard GB on the proposed merger with Skateboard England and on the new constitution for Skateboard GB.
  • Advising Northampton Saints on general commercial contract issues.

JMW Solicitors LLP

JMW Solicitors LLP acts for a wide range of sporting organisations and promoters, with strong client portfolios in golf, football, and boxing. The team has been active in COVID-19 response work during 2020, including renegotiating contracts and testing for behind-closed-doors events, alongside continuous work on commercial contracts and endorsement agreements, and representation of individual sportspeople. The team is led by Ben Peppi and Stephen Taylor Heath, who is a well-regarded sports law practitioner with a strong stable of clients, handling contentious and non-contentious matters. Mike Blood and Claire Brown are also regularly involved in corporate sports work and litigation respectively.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Taylor Heath; Ben Peppi

Other key lawyers:

Mike Blood; Claire Brown


‘The practice is very good because they are efficient, timely and knowledgeable. They are also very helpful. I can’t recommend them enough.’

‘The individuals there are very driven and work hard to get to an outcome. They are subject mater experts in their specific areas of expertise.’

‘This practice provides specialist commercial advice to the sports sector. They are brilliant.’

‘Stephen Heath – pragmatic and sensible but robust when required. Very powerful judgment. Very intuitive to the sector.’

‘The sports practice is very experienced which is key to understanding the issues around sport. They provide first rate advice and representation across football and boxing.’

‘Stephen Taylor Heath has enormous experience in handling and strategising complex problems. He is a solid and reliable lawyer with a strong following.’


Key clients

DNA Fit Limited trading as Prenetics

Modest Golf Management! Limited

Kinetica Sports Nutrition (Boyne Valley Limited)


BlackCastle Sports Management

Queensberry Promotions Limited

iRama PTE

Major Rights Holder for Elite and Amateur cycling events in the UK

Crowd Network Limited

American Golf

NVA Sports And Event Management Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Prenetics on their commercial contracts for undertaking Covid-19 testing with key sporting governing bodies/promoters including the English Premier League, English Cricket Board, Matchroom Promotions and SoccerAid.
  • Advising Modest Golf Management and their clients on multi million pound endorsement contracts with Ping and Adidas for professional golfer Tyrrell Hatton who is ranked in the World top 5 and a ground breaking partnership with the R&A to make golf more inclusive and appealing to young people.
  • Advising Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, who promote boxers such as Tyson Fury. This has included work on the co-promotion of the Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua Undisputed World Title contest.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Led by ‘hugely knowledgeable and experienced‘ sports law specialist Julian Diaz-RaineyPinsent Masons LLP works with sports clubs and organisations across football, athletics, horse racing, and golf, handling large-scale commercial agreements, COVID-19 mitigation matters, and governance issues, including regular representation before CAS.  Samantha Livesey plays a key role in sponsorship and contractual negotiations, and is a specialist in equestrian sports issues. Associate Alexander Richmond leads several key client relationships in contentious and non-contentious work, with senior associate Andrew Mitchell working on regulatory and rules reviews and disputes in a number of sports.

Practice head(s):

Julian Diaz-Rainey

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Livesey; Alexander Richardson; Andrew Mitchell


‘Top notch sports knowledge, high class clients. Particularly impressive knowledge of running inquiries.’

‘Julian Diaz-Rainey is hugely knowledgeable and experienced.

Andrew Mitchell is a first rate senior associate. Clever, hard working, dedicated.’

‘Sam Livesey – understands the sector inside out.’


Key clients

Manchester City Football Club / City Football Group

The Jockey Club Racecourses

World Athletics

The English Football League

Sport England

UK Sport

Liverpool Football Club

Huel Limited

The English Golf Union Limited

Sweaty Betty

WIT Fitness Limited

Work highlights

  • Conducting, and advising on issues arising out of, a QC-led inquiry into any connections the Club may have had with the convicted child sex offender, Barry Bennell, and any other anomalous issues. Due to report in the coming months.
  • We advised JCR throughout on all aspects of the CV-19 pandemic, reviewing and advising on negotiations with all sponsors as events fell by the wayside, guiding JCR in response to arguments over force majeure and the effect of the pandemic on all of its commercial agreements.
  • Advising England Golf on its licensing and implementation of the new World Handicapping System across golf clubs throughout England.


Bermans expanded its sports offering with the hire of senior associate David Keenan from Freeths LLP in late 2020, bolstering the firm's client base of Premier League footballers and boxing promoters. 'Lynchpin' Keenan advises high-profile clients on commercial and contentious issues, including image rights and contractual agreements. Former professional footballer Gareth Farrelly is the other key member of the team, and is a CAS arbitrator with a strong profile within the industry.

Practice head(s):

David Keenan

Other key lawyers:

Gareth Farrelly


‘The team is very approachable and extremely competent. There is complete synergy within the team and as a client I have never felt that I have simply been passed from one department to the other.’

‘David Keenan has been the standout lynchpin for me. Excellent communication skills , legally erudite and able to elicit information from the other side with apparent ease. I feel comfortable talking to him about legal issues and asking for pragmatic solutions.’


Key clients

Philip Foden

Daniel Drinkwater

Tommy Fury

1810 Sports Limited

R2 Sports Limited

Inter European

Player 4 Player Limited

Total Football Group

Lindon Newbon Boxing Limited

Ricky Hatton/Punch Promotions

Work highlights

  • Represented Daniel Drinkwater in his loan move from Chelsea Football Club to Kasimpasa SK.
  • Representing Phil Foden in all of his contractual arrangements including any agreements with Manchester City and endorsement deals including StatSports and EA Sports.
  • Representing Tommy Fury in issues relating to his return to the boxing ring following the Covid-19 pandemic.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP advises a wide range of sportspeople and clubs on employment and contractual issues, sports stadium issues, dispute resolution, and corporate financing. The firm has notable capabilities in representing injured players in liability claims, and is also involved in high-profile football transfers. Practice head Jan Levinson specialises in commercial dispute resolution, with a leading sports injury practice.

Practice head(s):

Jan Levinson

Key clients

Manchester United Limited

Joshua Murray (ex-Manchester City FC)

Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Lincoln City Football Club


Zurich and its insured bowls club

Sport Ireland

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (“IHRB”)

Zurich and its insured golf club

Work highlights

  • Advising Manchester United on a number of licensing matters including recently advising them of the impact of Covid in this regard.
  • Representing a youth Manchester city player who suffered a career ending injury in his debut match for England.
  • Advising Sport Ireland on the development and drafting of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules which have been used by World Anti-Doping Agency as the basis for its Model Rules for National Anti-Doping Organisations.

Farleys Solicitors LLP

Farleys Solicitors LLP works with sporting clients including clubs, players, and promoters, on contractual, criminal, insolvency, and employment-related matters. The firm is particularly active in football and boxing, advising and representing a range of high-profile regional and national clients. The team is led by Daniel Draper, with Michael  Corrigan specialising in sports injury matters.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Draper

Other key lawyers:

Michael Corrigan


‘The team has a very strong offering in football and boxing, having been involved in a number of heavyweight disputes in the last year. They have a very impressive understanding of these sports operate at both a national and International level, and are able to help their clients successfully navigate what can be a complex regulatory regime. ’

‘Daniel Draper is the stand-out individual at the firm. Dan has an excellent grasp on the regularity regimes that apply sports disputes and marries that well with an astute commercial awareness. ’

‘Niche practice in sports work – very experienced in a number of sectors including football, boxing. Recognised amongst peers as such.’

‘Dan Draper – very sector aware and able to tailor his manner and approach to different styles – including handling personalities well. Knows the regulatory regime backwards (including for example drugs testing). Very personable and low key style.’

Key clients

Professional Footballers’ Association

Hennessy Sports Worldwide Ltd

R10 Sports Agency

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP advises major clients in football, rugby, and cricket, handling large-scale transactions and projects alongside commercial agreements, operational issues, and intellectual property work. The team is led by Richard Millington, who focuses on elite advisory work for high-profile clients, including transactions, sponsorship and distribution arrangements, and litigation strategy.

Practice head(s):

Richard Millington

Key clients

City Football Group (Manchester City FC)

The Football Association

Oleksandr (Alex) Zinczenko

Federation of Sports and Play

Simon Corney

Hampshire County Cricket Club

Association of Sporting Directors

The Football Pools

Certain Burnley FC shareholders

Angel Gomes


Work highlights

  • Advising former Oldham Athletic owner Simon Jones in relation to issued proceedings against the current owner of Oldham Athletic FC.
  • Advising Rugby League World Cup 2021 on production tenders and agreements.
  • Advising the Association of Sporting Directors on a continuous basis.

Excello Law

Excello Law acts for a range of sporting clients, including football clubs, managers and coaches, players, and sporting organisations, handling transfers, employment litigation, and contractual disputes, with high-profile clients within the North West and internationally. Experienced sports practitioner Dominic McGinn is a key name; he has argued cases before the FA and CAS, among others. Commercial litigator Sarah Nolan handles contentious matters.

Other key lawyers:

Dominic McGinn; Sarah Nolan

Key clients

World Sports Advisers S.L

Eleven Football Management


El Gouna Football Club

Pencilhill Limited

Echo Sport

Work highlights

  • Advising on the transfer of a footballer to a top six Premier League club for a fee in excess of £10m.
  • Represented the coaching staff of a former Premier League Club in a claim for £1.6m against the Club for breach of contract. The claim is proceeding by arbitration.
  • Advised on a claim for £2.5m by a player’s former club against a client football club under FIFA’s Articles of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP works with regional and national sports clients, including clubs and governing bodies, focusing on commercial contracts, disputes and litigation, reputation management, and brand protection. The firm advises several major clients on a retainer basis. Paul Walsh leads the team, specialising in commercial litigation concerning issues such as funding and contractual disputes, privacy issues, and selection disputes between players and clubs. Associate Jon Scally is an emerging sports specialist within the department.

Practice head(s):

Paul Walsh

Other key lawyers:

Jon Scally

Key clients

Tranmere Rovers FC

Total Swimming

Ideas + Cars Limited

Lancashire CountyvCricket Club

Work highlights

  • Advising Tranmere Rovers on a range of legal issues, including community based projects and initiatives.
  • Advising Total Swimming on general commercial and operational matters.
  • Advised IDEAS+CARS Limited, a subsidiary of TSX V listed Torque Esporton the acquisition of the business and assets of WTF1 from Dennis Publishing.