Next Generation Partners

Sport in North West

Brabners LLP

Representing a stellar client list consisting of Premier League and Football League clubs in the North and their community outreach organisations, the Lawn Tennis Association, Rugby League giants Wigan and Rugby Union high-flyers Sale Sharks, Brabners LLP is one of the region’s elite sports firms. A specialist area of the firm’s work is crisis management support for sportspeople and their families in the public eye, with the firm assisting Wayne and Coleen Rooney and Ben and Deborah Stokes in this capacity. Practice head Lydia Edgar is a sports employment law specialist, with a great deal of experience formulating major contracts, managing disciplinary issues and assisting with exits. Andrew McGregor leads the football division of the team, having experience representing clients in Premier League and EFL arbitration proceedings, FA Disciplinary Commission proceedings and the High Court. Expert on commercial rights in sport Jason Smith, sports regulation specialist Catherine Forshaw and IP lawyer Colin Bell are also key.

Practice head(s):

Lydia Edgar

Other key lawyers:

Andrew McGregor; Jason Smith; Catherine Forshaw; Colin Bell; Matt Lavelle


‘The team is particularly strong on sports governance, supporting many National and International Governing Bodies. Their expertise in this area is second to none.’

‘Catherine Forshaw is extremely diligent and conscientious. She is able to anticipate what sports clients want, even before they know it themselves.

Andrew McGregor’s knowledge of football’s regulatory framework is exceptional. He really is at the forefront of this area.

Key clients

The English Football League

England & Wales Cricket Board


Liverpool Football Club

Leicester City Football Club

Commonwealth Games Federation

Lawn Tennis Association

Gaimin Io Limited

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

Michael Carrick Foundation

Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group

British Judo Association

PM Sport Management Limited

Michael Vaughan OBE

Manchester Sale Rugby Club Ltd

Midas Sports Management

British Basketball Federation

Basketball England

Dariusz Michalczewski

Manchester United Foundation

Ben Stokes

Wigan Rugby League Club Limited

Coleen Rooney

Professional Golfers Association

National Football Museum

Players Foundation

Everton In The Community

Work highlights

  • Advising the Commonwealth Games Federation on a number of matters, including their relationship with a 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.
  • Advised Ben & Deborah Stokes (ECB affray and The Sun privacy cases), Wayne & Coleen Rooney (#WagathaChriste dispute), Michael Vaughan (Azeem Rafiq – racism allegations).
  • Advised an EFL Championship Football Club on 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.

Centrefield LLP

Boutique sports law firm Centrefield LLP advises some of the largest football clubs in the country on high level matters, including transfers and manager appointments, and dismissals. The 'enthusiastic' team is very experienced in the athletics sphere, acting on investigations into doping, as well as representing top rugby clubs and even foreign sports leagues such as the MLS and National Women’s Soccer League. Practice co-head Edward Canty is a football governance expert, while co-head Matthew Bennett advises on contentious matters such as football disciplinary cases. Team co-head Stuart Baird advises on international football transfers and sports immigration as well as disciplinary cases in various sports, with one standout matter being his representation for Samoan captain Junior Paulo in rapidly overturning a ban for a tackle which would have kept the player out of the Rugby League World Cup semi-final. Co-head David Bentham specialises in commercial sports work, including sponsorship agreements. Associate Phil Bonner is also key.

Practice head(s):

Edward Canty; Matthew Bennett; David Bentham; Stuart Baird

Other key lawyers:

Phil Bonner; Oliver Sadler; Deirdre McCarthy


‘Extremely approachable team who are enthusiastic and work extremely hard to find solutions to any problems we come over. Extremely commercial and open-minded which gives me confidence and belief in their work. Highly recommend Centrefield to anyone in need of sports law advice.’

‘The team at Centrefield is highly knowledgable with sector specific insight in the sports industry.’

‘I work with Deirdre McCarthy who is an extremely capable and dilligent lawyer, always willing to go the extra mile.’

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.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP is known representing top footballers, with standout clients including Kevin De Bruyne, Leah Williamson and Kieran Trippier. The firm assists in managing investments and sponsorship deals for these players. The practice also has a broader range of expertise across sports including horse racing, Rugby League and cycling; assisting with transfers of commercial rights, facility redevelopments, disputes and more. The team is jointly led by the ‘innovative and committedCarol Couse, a sports specialist commercial ADR expert, and Mark Hovell, an experienced arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Sarah Whyman, a sports data protection expert, and experienced employment lawyer Richard Barker are also integral. Associate Rustam Sethna is ‘extremely hard-working‘ and stands out for his expertise in cross-border sports litigation in areas ranging from football to sailing.

Practice head(s):

Carol Couse; Mark Hovell

Other key lawyers:

Richard Barker; Sarah Whyman; Rustam Sethna; Phil Hutchinson


‘Very knowledgeable lawyers, both partners and associates, with huge experience of sports work.’

Carol Couse is an innovative and committed partner. Handles both litigation and non-contentious work. Also a mediator.’

‘Excellent commitment to their clients; highly knowledgeable.’

‘Carol Couse has in-depth knowledge of the sports industry. Mark Hovell- extremely highly regarded both for his work as a CAS arbitrator and hugely knowledgeable. Rustam Sethna is an extremely hard-working associate with excellent attention to detail.’

‘The team is incredibly strong. There is nothing that they won’t have encountered before. They are able to bring together a level of expertise matched by only a few other teams, either nationally or internationally.’

‘Phil Hutchinson is a brilliant sports lawyer. He understands the landscape like few others. He is able to identify both legal and commercial weaknesses in an opponents case like very few others, and has the ability to utilise this to his client’s benefit. Phil is particularly strong in relation to betting related regulatory offences and employment issues.

‘Mark Hovell  is a thought leader in the sports law sector. He is at the forefront of sports law developments, and is the person you want if you have a novel problem or are looking for guidance on the future development of the sector.’

Key clients

UK Sport

Kevin De Bruyne

Diogo Jota

Super League

Jockey World Championships

British Cycling

Divock Origi

Lucy Bronze

James Milner

Kieran Trippier

Leah Williamson

Court of Arbitration for Sport / Sport Resolutions

Professional Cricketers’ Association

Rangers Football Club / Burnley Football Club

Cambridge United Football Club / Norwich City Football Club

Podium Analytics /Eleven Sport

Rogon Football Agency

Work highlights

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP represents a number of high profile clients, including several major North-Western football clubs, The Jockey Club, World Athletics and several international sporting investors. The practice specialises in corporate strategy and commercial deals in the sports industry, as well as providing compliance advice and media support. Julian Diaz Rainey, who is experienced in a range of commercial sports sector matters and regulatory sports dispute resolution, leads the team and counts both Everton and Manchester City among his clients. Samantha Livesey notably oversees a specialist horse-racing and equine industries sub team; one of the group’s standout features. Further key names include Andrew Mitchell and Alexander Richardson, who advise sports governing bodies on both contentious and non-contentious issues, including regulatory matters, reputation management and risk reviews. Jac Evans, who joined the firm from JMW Solicitors LLP in October 2022, is recommended for his expertise in commercial litigation.

Practice head(s):

Julian Diaz-Rainey

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Livesey; Andrew Mitchell; Alexander Richmond; Sam Hall; Jac Evans


‘Always the best sports firm in the North West. Huge knowledge, massively experienced. Great with clients. Serious, determined but decent and dedicated.’

‘Julian Diaz-Rainey is the go-to litigator. Clever, thoughtful, super experienced.

Andrew Mitchell is one of the best in the business. Calm, intelligent, all over the detail, with a great strategic brain. Clients are lucky to have him on on the team.’

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

Everton Football Club

The English Golf Union Limited

Pacific Media Group

Work highlights


Brandsmiths is recommended for its football industry expertise, with the firm representing a number of well-known clubs and individual players, including retired greats of the game such as Roberto Carlos. The firm assists with matters ranging from employment and sponsorship deals to defamation. Tom Keane, who works on player transfers and branding matters, leads the team. Keane is supported by the ‘brilliantDavid Seligman, who has a strong record in disputes over players’ salaries and unpaid agents’ fees. Head of litigation Michael Forrester is also a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Tom Keane

Other key lawyers:

David Seligman; Michael Forrester


‘Very personal service that not many companies have now. Sound advice, just getting the right result.’

‘David Seligman is brilliant. His manor and knowledge stands out. Advice is delivered in an easy to understand way. Would highly recommend him.’

‘David Seligman’s knowledge, availability and proactiveness has been very helpful for us as we navigate the early years of starting a business. We have already recommended him to various contacts of ours as we appreciate how he goes about his work and relationships, his personal touch makes it feel like he is almost a part of our company.’

‘Strong depth across the team with a passion for the subject. Excellent advice provided on a consistent basis and pleasant to deal with.’

‘Michael Forrester is a tenacious litigator.’

Key clients

Manchester United FC

SCR Altach

Everton FC

Coventry City FC

Dundee United FC

John Hartson

Consilium Sports Group

Roberto Carlos

Joe Joyce

Guido Vianella

Kody Davies

New Era Global Sports Management Ltd


Mansa Sports Management

Ben Foster

Prodigy Sports Group

Michael Keane

Oldham Athletic (2004) Associated Football Club Limited


EMG Mundial

Jeremie Frimpong

Prolific Sports Group

Entourage Sports & Entertainment

Evolve Talent Group


Work highlights

Fletcher Sports Law

Fletcher Sports Law is a go-to firm for football players and their agents, acting for a large number of notable names in the Premier League in a broad range of matters, including endorsement agreements and disputes. Managing director Paul Fletcher has longstanding experience in advising rugby (both League and Union), darts, snooker and football clients. Associate Tom Grant is an expert in boxing related issues, acting for a number of professional boxers in relation to promotional, bout and management agreements.

Practice head(s):

Paul Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

Tom Grant


‘Paul Fletcher is one of the most knowledgeable lawyers in the sports sector, especially in football. From commercial transactions and sponsorship deals to litigation and regulatory work, he has an excellent niche practice representing some of the best players and agents in the UK.’

‘Fletcher law stands out for providing clients with efficient services. The team’s strengths include their expertise in all areas of sports law, and their commitment to always offer a prompt service.’

‘Paul Fletcher is always very helpful, if we do not understand a certain situation or contract clause, Paul will take his time to make sure you understand.’

Work highlights

Gateley Legal

Gateley Legal provides a range of large organisations in the sporting world including City Group, the British Amateur Boxing Association and Sport and Recreation Alliance with ongoing advice on regulatory compliance, corporate governance and sponsorship agreements. Stadium development in the elite football space is also a major area of strength for the group. The practice is led by John Burns, who has extensive commercial expertise with a specialism in sports image rights and merchandising. Burns is supported by experienced sports litigator and reputation management expert Nick Murrills.

Practice head(s):

John Burns

Other key lawyers:

Nick Murrills

Key clients

NOQ Events Limited

The Royal Birkdale Golf Club

British Amateur Boxing Association Limited

City Football Group

Aguila Sport UK Limited

Newcastle United

Sport and Recreation Alliance

British Skateboarding

Reading FC

Commonwealth Games

Racecraft Motorsport Promotion Limited

World Sports Buddy Limited

FGX Sports Limited

Notts County FC

West Ham United

International Netball Federation

Supporters Direct (now Football Supporters Association)

Brighton and Hove Albion

Pompey Supporters Trust

Sportstar Promotions Limited

FS3 Racing

British Wheelchair Basketball Association

Bournemouth Football Club Limited

British Triathlon


Work highlights

  • Advising the Sport and Recreation Alliance on a range of matters including regulatory compliance, governance, with regard to their Women in Sport project.
  • Acting for City Football Group in an outsourcing arrangement to provide legal services on an ongoing basis, including providing a permanent secondee, particularly in relation to sponsorship agreements international licensing, sponsorship, and facility agreements.
  • Providing British Amateur Boxing Association Limited assistance with their agency and management offering.

JMW Solicitors LLP

JMW Solicitors LLP houses a varied practice with specialisms in media contracts, brand and sponsorship deals, sports tech and sports science (including nutrition) and sports related crypto. Practice head Stephen Taylor Heath is an expert in broadcasting agreements, primarily focusing on football and boxing. Experienced sports arbitrator Claire Brown and Mike Blood, a corporate lawyer with specialist sports finance knowledge, are also key. Ben Peppi heads the firm’s Barn Door UK initiative, a business platform for retired sportspeople.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Taylor Heath

Other key lawyers:

Mike Blood; Claire Brown; Ben Peppi


‘First class.’

‘Stephen Heath is exceptional.’

Key clients

Prenetics EMEA Limited

Leona Maguire

Ewen Ferguson

VSL Sport Limited

Modest Golf Management Limited

Kinetica Sports Nutrition

Queensberry Promotions Limited

Sportsscientia Limited

MagicTech Limited

Open Door Developments Limited

Pulseroll Limited

Inter European Sports Agency

Lit Sports Limited

Strike Sports Management Limited

Francis Warren

Tyrrell Hatton

Willpowders Limited

Kinetica Sports Nutrition

American Golf

Volute Sport Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised VSL Sport Limited on a project to mint and sell NFTs  featuring pixelated sections of the stadiums of Ukraine Premier League Football Clubs. The proceeds going to President Zelensky’s charitable foundation.
  • Advised American Golf Leisure Limited on a joint venture with Justin Rose and the Rose Foundation to develop branded golf centres including supporting the Rose Charitable Foundation.
  • Advised Irish Golfer Leona Maguire and her management team at Modest! Golf Management on major sponsorship agreement with KPMG Ireland.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP, which has a specialism for representing Irish clients including The Irish Horse-racing Regulatory Board, covers a range of matters, including employment issues, corporate restructuring and financing. The practice is headed by Jan Levinson, who has broad experience in acting in commercial sports disputes, with an emphasis on sports injury disputes.

Practice head(s):

Jan Levinson


‘Jan Levinson is one of the go-to sports injury lawyers. A huge knowledge and experience.’


Key clients

Government Legal Department on behalf of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Sport Ireland

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board

Zurich and its insured

Work highlights

  • 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.

Farleys Solicitors LLP

At Farleys Solicitors LLP, practice head Daniel Draper has longstanding experience representing clients before FA Arbitrations, Football Disciplinary Commission panels and applications before the Premier League Board. Draper has also acted for a number of footballers in contract negotiations with English Premier League clubs, also counting disputes regarding injuries to high level academy and youth team football players as a further specialism. Athletics and boxing promotion are also areas of expertise for the group.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Draper


‘An excellent understanding of how the boxing world operates, including how to get deals done.’

‘Dan Draper’s knowledge of the boxing world is second to none. He is able to get deals done, and is the person you want in your corner if anything goes wrong.’


Key clients

Professional Footballers Association

Boxxer Ltd

Hennessy Sports

Toni Minichello

Work highlights

Excello Law

Excello Law specialises in representing football agents, players and coaching staff in high value disputes. Experienced sports litigator Dominic McGinn leads the team, and has previously appeared for clients before both FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Practice head(s):

Dominic McGinn


‘Dom McGinn – high quality and high value international football work from South America. He has taken on the best London firms and won.’

Key clients

World Sports Advisers S.L

Former Watford FC Football Coaching Staff


Pencilhill Limited

Europa Point Football Club

Laco Investments Limited

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP represents a variety of clients in a range of sports, including football, cricket and taekwondo. The team has broad expertise spanning dispute resolution, regulatory compliance and  commercial sports contract work, including joint venture and partnering agreements. Experienced commercial litigator Paul Walsh leads the team. Walsh is supported by sports law specialist associate Jon Scally. Sue Russell and Ian Gillis are noted for their corporate expertise.

Practice head(s):

Paul Walsh

Other key lawyers:

Jon Scally; Sue Russell; Ian Gillis

Key clients

Tranmere Rovers FC

Block Asset Management Limited

Total Swimming Limited

Lancashire County Cricket Club

GB Taekwondo

New Brighton Cricket & Bowling Club

Work highlights