Sport in North West

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP advises clients across the sporting landscape, comprising governing bodies, elite clubs and high-profile sportsmen and women. The multi-disciplinary sports team is recognised for its variety of high-end work, ranging from advising on the acquisition football clubs in administration to acting for prominent public figures in crisis management matters. Lydia Edgar leads the department (and is also head of the Manchester employment and pensions team), offering her expertise on contractual arrangements and high-profile appointments and exits in the sector. Legal director Andrew McGregor leads the football division and has considerable experience in sports related dispute resolution. Director of sports business and legal affairs Jason Smith and associate Catherine Forshaw are other key members, advising on matters across the sector.

Practice head(s):

Lydia Edgar

Other key lawyers:

Andrew McGregor; Jason Smith; Catherine Forshaw

Testimonials

‘A very strong sports team. One of the strongest in the North West. Depth of offering from partner level down to associate level. Very innovative in the sports technology space.’

‘Andrew MacGregor – really knowledgeable of football and its practicalities.’

‘Catherine Forshaw is hard working and reliable.’

‘Lydia Edgar is our ‘go-to’ person for legal advice in relation to safeguarding matters. I would highly recommend her.’

‘Brabners became an extension of our team.. It speaks volumes that our agents felt comfortable going to them directly with queries rather than through in-house counsel every time as they had become so intertwined with our business and knew it inside out.’

‘Andrew McGregor is simply outstanding in his field. He is one of the hardest working lawyers around and constantly strives to improve himself. Even better, he is a joy to work with.’

‘Our key contacts are approachable, down to earth and pragmatic in their analysis and advice.’

Brabners provides us with valuable safeguarding expertise and knowledge in relation to disciplinary and legal matters. We are extremely happy with their services and commitment.’

 

Key clients

The English Football League (EFL)

England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB)

Liverpool Football Club

Leicester City Football Club

Manchester United Foundation

British Canoeing

British Judo

W Series – Women’s Motor Sport

Birmingham City Football Club

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club

Bolton Wanderers Football Club

Wigan Athletic Football Club

Preston North End Football Club

Swindon Town Football Club

Cornwall RLFC (formerly Ottawa Aces)

Lawn Tennis Association

Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group

Wasserman Media Group

PM Sport Management Limited

Michael Vaughan OBE (former England cricketer)

Manchester Sale Rugby Club Ltd (Sale Sharks RFU)

Midas Sports Management

British Basketball Federation

Basketball England

British Swimming

Commonwealth Games Federation

Ben Stokes

Wigan Rugby League Club Limited

Coleen Rooney

Everton Football Club Women Limited

Professional Golfers Association (“PGA”)

Work highlights

  • Advised Phoenix 2021 Limited on the acquisition of the business and assets of Wigan Athletic A.F.C Limited, Wigan Football Company Limited, Wigan Sports Management Limited, Wigan Athletic Holdings Limited and Wigan Property Holdings Limited out of administration.
  • Advised British Swimming on issues relating to the participation of transgender and intersex athletes in sport.
  • Supported the development of Everton Football Club’s new £500m stadium at the listed Bramley-Moore Dock, acting as sole legal adviser on the wider development.

Centrefield LLP

Centrefield LLP’s boutique sports and media law practice represents clients across the sports sector whilst possessing specific expertise in football, advising on player contracts, intermediary arrangements and disciplinary issues.  The team also represents high-profile clients in boxing, rugby and the Great Britain Olympic Team. The department is led by a senior quartet, comprising Edward Canty who offers expertise on football governance matters and Matthew Bennett, who advises on disciplinary cases, football transfers and international dispute resolution. David Bentham and Stuart Baird complete the senior team, providing expertise on a range of matters including commercial sport aspects and immigration-related issues, respectively. Associate Phil Bonner has a particular specialism in sports contentious matters within various arbitral jurisdictions.

Practice head(s):

Edward Canty; David Bentham; Matthew Bennett; Stuart Baird

Other key lawyers:

Phil Bonner; Oliver Sadler; Deirdre McCarthy

Testimonials

‘It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Centrefield. Their knowledge in sports law seems limitless regardless of the task I have thrown at them. In summary they are a breath of fresh air who are transparent, clear and concise but fully aware of providing value for money.’

‘Always available and nothing seems to be too much for them. The team ethic between partners and associates has been brilliant.’

‘Excellent industry knowledge and a market leader in sports and commercial work.’

‘Knowledgeable (particularly from a football regulatory perspective), agile and responsive. Reasonable value (especially when compared to their competitors in London).’

‘Matthew Bennett always makes time to speak regardless of time of day. Very knowledgeable and pragmatic with regards to football regulatory advice. Reassuring to speak to someone who lives and breathes the regulations and has that first hand experience.’

‘Phil Bonner – very responsive and diligent. Good experience in relation to disputes/litigation. Using Phil is like an extension of our internal legal team.’

Key clients

Manchester United Football Club

Manchester City Football Club

Liverpool Football Club

The Professional Footballers’ Association

The Rugby Players’ Association

Super League

Major League Soccer

Leicester Tigers

Antonio Conte

CJ Ujah

The England Rugby Union Squad Entity

Work highlights

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

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP provides advice to high-profile clubs, individuals, and organisations throughout the sports industry. Whilst the practice is recognised for its work in arbitration and litigation, the team also handles a wide range of matters concerning commercial rights, football transfers and regulatory issues. Practice head Mark Hovell supports a prestigious line-up of clients, including the PFA, across a range of matters. Co-head Carol Couse has extensive experience in football and advises clients on disciplinary proceedings and regulatory matters. Senior associate Sarah Whyman specialises in commercial contracts and data protection laws within sport. Other key names include Phil Hutchinson , who splits his time between the Manchester and Birmingham offices.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hovell; Carol Couse

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Whyman; Rustam Sethna; Phil Hutchinson

Testimonials

‘Mark Hovell has buckets of experience and is also a seasoned arbitrator.’

‘Carol Couse knows the business backwards as well as being an intelligent and supportive team leader.’

‘Phil Hutchinson punches way above his weight – he has lots of experience and smarts, plus dedication to his clients.’

‘An excellent well-rounded sports law practice that is able to offer easy to follow technical advice on any given subject within any necessary timescale.’

‘An extremely knowledgeable team, which goes above and beyond for its clients. The partners have great industry knowledge and the team has very impressive senior associates, which ensures cases are run efficiently.’

Mark Hovell – a well-known and respected sports lawyer. Extremely knowledgeable with a very calm demeanour.’

‘Carol Couse – excellent knowledge of the football industry, good with clients and efficient at running a team in complex cases.’

‘Phil Hutchinson is an outstanding senior associate. Very knowledgeable, particularly excellent with clients and extremely hard-working.’

Key clients

Professional Footballers’ Association

Rangers Football Club

Podium Analytics

Super League

Mr Kim Andersen

Kieran Trippier

Court of Arbitration for Sport

Work highlights

  • Re-negotiated, on behalf of the PFA, the standard professional playing contract for WSL and Championship players (including the introduction of family friendly policies and contractual parity with the PL standard playing contracts).
  • Advised Podium Analytics on a wide range of matters, including on their collaborations with England Hockey and the RFU, on GDPR and on various complex data issues generally and on agreements for their many high-profile celebrity endorsers.
  • Advised Super League Europe on a variety of issues, including establishing corporate vehicles, drafting articles and shareholder agreements and transferring rights.

Brandsmiths

Brandsmiths represents high-profile clients in boxing, football and athletics. The firm handles a range of commercial issues, including player transfers, sponsorship agreements and contracts. The practice also advises on defamation and libel claims against newspapers on behalf of sportspeople. Founding partner and practice head, Adam Morallee, retains particular expertise in football, boxing and motorsport. Michael Forrester is head of litigation and has considerable experience in offering regulatory, media, privacy and commercial advice to sports-based clients. Associates Tom Keane and David Seligman deal with football related legal issues.

Practice head(s):

Adam Morallee

Other key lawyers:

Michael Forrester; Tom Keane; David Seligman

Testimonials

‘Tom Keane has great experience and insight into dealing with sport sector issues.’

‘David Seligman is an expert in football law. He has genuine industry experiences.’

‘They are a experienced, responsive and friendly team. They have extensive knowledge of our business sector and think expansively on finding solutions.’

‘They are helpful and willing to explore different approaches. Tom Keane is brilliant to work with and works at a speed the suits our fast paced environment.’

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

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

YMU

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

UMBRO

Laurence Bassini

Armand Traore

Jill Scott

Blue Carpet Management

Work highlights

  • Provided advice to YMU’s football intermediaries and players in relation to regulatory, commercial and contractual matters.
  • Provided advice to Umbro on a wide range of important matters for this internationally renowned sports brand, including sponsorship agreements, licensing arrangements, brand protection and contract litigation.
  • Advised current Watford and former Manchester United and England goalkeeper Ben Foster on all aspects of his YouTube channel – ‘Ben Foster – The Cycling GK’.

Fletcher Sports Law

Fletcher Sports Law is recognised for its work in football, advising agents, players and brands across contentious and non-contentious issues. The team is also well-renowned for representing high-profile boxing clients on various contractual matters. Paul Fletcher heads the team – he is acknowledged for his work across football ranging from player contracts and transfers to representation agreements. Associate Tom Grant bolsters the practice and provides support across an array of topics, including agency disputes and sponsorship agreements.

Practice head(s):

Paul Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

Tom Grant

Testimonials

‘Availability and responsiveness.’

‘Paul Fletcher is very knowledgeable on commercial points for both football clubs and the industry. It’s great to have somebody who isn’t just a black letter lawyer but who gets the commercial implications too.’

‘Genuine sector experience, unlike a lot of pretenders.’

Key clients

England Men’s Football Team

Mark Selby

Harry Kane

Josh Taylor

188BET

James Maddison

Milos Raonic

Ben Chilwell

Ben White

Phil ‘The Power” Taylor

Work highlights

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

JMW Solicitors LLP

JMW Solicitors LLP provides legal support to high-profile clients throughout the sporting sector, most notably in boxing, football and golf. The team is led by Ben Peppi and Stephen Taylor Heath, the latter noted for his expertise across boxing and football and work on multi-jurisdictional broadcast agreements for major events. Claire Brown is another key member of the team, specialising in sports-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Taylor Heath; Ben Peppi

Other key lawyers:

Mike Blood; Claire Brown

Testimonials

‘The people at JMW are very collborative and are great people to work with.’

Key clients

Modest Golf Management Limited

Kinetica Sports Nutrition (Boyne Valley Limited)

Queensberry Promotions Limited

BlackCastle Sports Management Limited

Prenetics EMEA Limited

Pulseroll Limited

Kevin Stewart

Manchester School of Cycling

Work highlights

    Pinsent Masons LLP

    Pinsent Masons LLP advises high-profile clients across football, athletics, horse racing and golf. The team focuses on sports-related commercial agreements, governance and regulation issues. Julian Diaz-Rainey leads the team, specialising in dispute resolution relating a wide range of commercial and regulatory matters. Samantha Livesey heads up the horseracing and equine industries team, whilst senior associate Andrew Mitchell advises governing and regulatory bodies on regulatory matters and reputation management issues. Associate Alexander Richmond handles a range of both contentious and non-contentious matters.

    Practice head(s):

    Julian Diaz-Rainey

    Other key lawyers:

    Samantha Livesey; Andrew Mitchell; Alexander Richmond

    Testimonials

    ‘Very knowledgeable and experienced. Strength and depth. Able to handle any sports issue.’

    ‘Julian Diaz-Rainey: hugely experienced. High profile, clever, dedicated. Has particular knowledge of running inquiries. Very commercial.’

    ‘Andrew Mitchell: Should be a partner. Extremely bright. Very knowledgeable. No nonsense and realistic. Great team leader.’

    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

    • Conducted, and advised on issues arising out of, a QC-led inquiry into any connections that Manchester City Football Club may have had with the convicted child sex offender, Barry Bennell.

    DAC Beachcroft LLP

    DAC Beachcroft LLP‘s multi-disciplinary sports team offers advice to clients across a range of commercial matters, including employment and contractual issues, sports stadium issues, corporate restructuring, corporate finance and licensing. The department is particularly recognised for its niche sports injury work. Jan Levinson heads up the practice, specialising in commercial dispute resolution and sports injuries.

    Practice head(s):

    Jan Levinson

    Key clients

    Manchester United

    Joshua Murray (ex-Manchester City FC)

    Brighton & Hove Albion FC

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

    Bluefin Sport Brokers – Insurers – Liberty Mutual – The EFL

    Zurich and its insured bowls club

    Sport Ireland

    The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (“IHRB”)

    Work highlights

    • Obtained a variation to Manchester United’s licensing portfolio to allow, amongst other things, the provision of alcohol (in seats, at events where that is permitted).
    • Advised a former Manchester City youth team player, Mr Joshua Murray in relation to a cross-border £multimillion claim involving issues of vicarious liability, legal status of unincorporated associations, lost opportunity and damages.
    • Advised Brighton & Hove Albion FC in relation to extension works to the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre and a new Elite Women & Girls training and sports medicine centre in Shoreham, West Sussex.

    Farleys Solicitors LLP

    Farleys Solicitors LLP advises clients across a range of sports, including the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), on a wide range of matters encompassing disputes, employment matters and defamation. Daniel Draper leads the team, often representing clients before FA Arbitrations and Football Disciplinary Tribunals and advising footballers in contract negotiations. Associate Mark Skinner offers tailored debt and insolvency advice to current and former sports professionals.

    Practice head(s):

    Daniel Draper

    Other key lawyers:

    Mark Skinner

    Work highlights

      Shoosmiths LLP

      Shoosmiths LLP’s sports practice group handles a range of transactional and contentious matters for clients in sports including football, rugby and cricket. Richard Millington heads the team, recognised for developing and executing litigation strategies in multiple jurisdictions and working on broadcasting rights, sponsorship, distribution and agency arrangements in the sports sector.

      Practice head(s):

      Richard Millington

      Key clients

      City Football Group (Manchester City FC)

      The Football Association

      Oleksandr (Alex) Zinczenko (Man City player)

      Federation of Sports and Play

      Simon Corney

      Hampshire County Cricket Club

      Association of Sporting Directors

      The Football Pools

      ORG Secondary Opportunity Fund

      Ashleigh Plumptre

      Volkswagen Group

      Molson Coors

      E 1 Series

      Peloton

      TRZ Training

      Work highlights

      • Advised Electric Sea Racing Limited on strategic partnership with The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia involving significant investment enabling it to launch the world’s first electric boat racing championship.
      • Worked on the setup of “Football for Ukraine”, a new charitable trust to help the humanitarian effort in Ukraine.
      • Provided guidance throughout the UK’s Brexit negotiations to the FSPA.

      Excello Law

      Excello Law acts for a variety of sport stakeholders including footballers, football clubs, and sports-based businesses. The ‘new-model’ law firm offers a line-up of partner-level lawyers operating as consultant solicitors, either individually or in small teams, supported by a full range of back-office support services. Dominic McGinn is a name to note, previously appearing before FIFA (the world’s governing football body) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), offering advice on player contracts, regulatory matters and representation agreements.

      Practice head(s):

      Dominic McGinn

      Testimonials

      ‘Very competent boutique firm.’

      ‘Dom McGinn has unrivalled experience of transfer disputes and international enforcement issues.’

      ‘Very good international client base.’

      Key clients

      World Sports Advisers S.L

      Eleven Football Management

      Lineroom

      Pencilhill Limited

      Echo Sport

      Europa Point Football Club

      Work highlights

      • Advised on the transfer of Dario Sarmiento from Estudiantes Football Club to Manchester City Football Club for a substantial undisclosed fee.
      • Instructed by the coaching staff of a former Premier League Club to claim 1.6 million pounds against the club for breach of contract.
      • Acted on behalf of football agency in proposed arbitration proceedings against a football player before the Football Association for one million USD for breach of a football player and agent representation agreement.

      Hill Dickinson LLP

      Hill Dickinson LLP focuses on commercial sports contract work including joint venture and partnering agreements, litigation and dispute resolution for clubs, governing bodies and athletes. Paul Walsh heads the team, specialising in commercial litigation including complex breach of contract claims, privacy breaches and selection disputes between players and clubs. Associate Jon Scally is a key team member, advising across sports related litigation matters.

      Practice head(s):

      Paul Walsh

      Other key lawyers:

      Jon Scally

      Key clients

      Tranmere Rovers FC

      Block Asset Management Limited

      Total Swimming Limited

      GB Taekwondo

      Lancashire County Cricket Club

      New Brighton Cricket & Bowling Club

      Work highlights