Sport in Scotland

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP has a distinguished track record of representing governing bodies, leading clubs and renowned athletes at domestic and international dispute resolution forums. The team, led by Bruce Caldow, is also well-versed in discipline, investigation and cross-border regulatory matters with the capacity for further support on the full range of commercial, contractual, licensing, anti-doping and compliance issues. Also integral to the practice is Tom Thomas; he is considered a go-to name for sponsorship and broadcasting agreements in addition to commercial and IP property rights. Sector expertise is notably broad and includes ice hockey, bowling and karate in addition to football, rugby, tennis and golf.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Caldow

Other key lawyers:

Tom Thomas; David Kerr; Carolyn Morgan

Key clients

sportscotland

British Athletics

Scottish Rugby Union plc

UEFA

Tennis Scotland

Scottish Curling

Celtic plc

Scottish Gymnastics

Edinburgh Rugby & Glasgow Warriors

Scottish Swimming

Work highlights

  • Advising Scottish Rugby Union in relation to the threatened cancellation of the Rugby World Cup test match with Japan and the resultant dispute with Rugby World Cup Ltd regarding Typhoon Hagibis.
  • Reappointed as expert resource providers for legal services to all governing bodies in sport in Scotland, allowing the team to continue on its eight years of work with sportscotland and governing bodies.
  • Appointed as solicitors to British Athletics for legal work required in Scotland, England and Wales, as legal advisers to British Athletics. The team has undertaken various important instructions including in relation to selection appeals, rule reviews, employee matters and governance.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard’s ‘team is very commercially aware and understands business very well’. Practice head Simon Catto specialises in sports litigation, contracts and regulatory matters, with his primary focus directed towards footballing matters. Elsewhere, on the non-contentious front, Helena Brown’s ‘knowledge is second to none’ as she supports her clients on operational and regulatory matters with particular expertise of sponsorship, data protection, consumer compliance and services procurement affairs. Tony McGlennan is a further key name, leveraging his experience as Compliance Officer for the Scottish FA to support on disciplinary and regulatory instructions.

Practice head(s):

Simon Catto

Other key lawyers:

Helena Brown; Tony McGlennan

Testimonials

‘The team is very commercially aware and understands our business very well. As such, they provide risk based advice and assistance and are always available when required.’

‘Helena Brown is the standout partner that we work with at Addleshaw Goddard – she is very commercially aware and willing to go the extra mile for our business. Her knowledge of the area is second to none.’

Key clients

Motherwell Football Club

Celtic Football Club

Scottish Football Association

Josh Kerr

Heart of Midlothian Football Club

Work highlights

  • Supporting Motherwell FC in their defence of a Notice of Complaint before a Scottish FA Disciplinary Tribunal relative to a breach of Disciplinary Rule 204.
  • Supporting Celtic FC in negotiating contracts for procurement of IT services relating to ticketing and other IT/data processing services.
  • Providing support to the SFA’s internal data protection office function on regulatory compliance requirements, including: strategy development, policy drafting and contract drafting.

Burness Paull LLP

The team at Burness Paull LLP represents a client roster of football clubs, media outfits, international organisations and sports governing bodies on a broad array of affairs. Prominent examples include brand protection, disputes, IP, corporate and commercial, employment and property matters. Neil Smith heads the department, which is revered for its knowledge of disciplinary rules, governance matters and sporting-related litigation. Senior associate Stephen Farrellis a standout in the sports market, acting for a number of sporting federations’. Former practice leader Neeraj Thomas left to join to CMS.

Practice head(s):

Neil Smith

Testimonials

Stephen Farrell is a stand out in the sports market, acting for a number of sporting federations.’

Key clients

Scottish FA

Scottish Rugby Union plc

Scottish Squash Limited

FIFA

Everton FC

Aberdeen FC

Celtic FC

Sir Alex Ferguson / ACF Sports Promotions

PicRights

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Scottish Football Association for a number of years in a wide variety of legal areas, including employment, commercial and dispute resolution.
  • Successfully represented Aberdeen FC in its application for planning permission for its new stadium.
  • Managing Sky Sports’ IP enforcement programme across Scotland.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern is relied upon for advise on contracts, sporting partnerships and funding arrangements,and enjoys a particularly strong reputation for governance matters. The firm's client roster includes football and golf clubs, public sector bodies and prominent sportspeople.

Brodies LLP

At Brodies LLP, the team’s core strengths lie in sports-related commercial contracts such as software, services and venue agreements. Its key areas of focus are primarily football and tennis, though the group also holds distinguished expertise in e-sports and third sector sports. Andy Nolan leads the practice, which is also engaged for IP licensing, transactional and sponsorship matters.

Practice head(s):

Andy Nolan

Other key lawyers:

Ross Campbell

Key clients

OPG – 4 Limited

Scotcomms Technology Group Ltd

Rewards 4 Group

Brodies LLP

PSP Media Group

Perfect Memorabilia Limited

Little Kerse Leisure Limited (trading as Galaxy Sports)

Aberdeen Football Club

Work highlights

  • Advised OPG – 4 Limited on and negotiated the acquisition of the majority shareholding in Dundee United Football Club.
  • Advised Scotcomms Technology Group on a high-profile software as a service e-ticketing agreement with FIFA in respect of the Women’s World Cup in June 2019.
  • Ongoing legal support to Rewards4 Group in becoming GDPR compliant, which is essential to the client’s ongoing operations.

BTO Solicitors LLP

The team at BTO Solicitors LLP is well-regarded for ‘always being there when you need them’. Andrew Sleigh, a specialist in football and golf oversees the department and is noted for his ‘knowledge and attention to detail’. His team advises on corporate governance issues and is highly rated for its knowledge of hosting major sporting events. Further established strengths include disputes, commercial agreements and topical legal issues, most recently the issue of equality in gold club memberships.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Sleigh

Other key lawyers:

Gary Booth

Testimonials

‘Always there when you need them – they deal with matters in a timely manner. If your main contact is unavailable there is always another member of staff who is qualified to assist and gives the same service as we expect and receive in the normal course of business.’

‘Andrew Sleigh understands our business and what we require when we contact him. His knowledge, attention to detail and acting in a timeous manner makes him stand out by comparison to other firms that I have dealt with when at previous clubs. ‘

Key clients

Scottish Football Association

Royal Troon Golf Club

Tommy Gilmour Sports Promotions

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Scottish FA in its acquisition of the National Stadium, Hampden Park.  
  • Advised the Scottish FA in relation to its hosting of matches at Hampden Park during Euro 2020.

Lindsays

Lindsays has a track record of acting for rugby, cricket, golf and bowling clubs on incorporation and corporate governance mandates. Douglas Roberts, an expert in sporting-related contracts, leads the practice, which includes Brent Haywood, a sports disputes specialist. The team is also well-versed in sponsorship matters and also supports governing bodies, coaches and famous athletes on a range of issues. The team has also recently by instructed by a number of football supporters clubs.

Practice head(s):

Douglas Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Brent Haywood

Key clients

David King

British Boxing Board of Control,

Raith Rovers Football Club Limited

Port Edgar Yacht Club Limited

Perth Hunt

Work highlights

  • Advised former Rangers FC chairman David King in his defence of action against him by the Takeover Panel – the first time that the Code has been tested in this way before the courts.
  • Advised the British Boxing Board of Control in relation to the Fatal Accident Inquiry following the death of professional boxer Michael Towell.
  • Advised Perth Hunt in negotiations for its new catering agreement which is vital to the reputation and revenue of the business.

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser’s sports practice is led by Paul Geoghegan, whose specialisms encompass governance, discipline and commercial contract matters. He is particularly knowledgeable of football, both in the English Premier League and Scottish Premiership, with a history of representing prominent Scottish sports organisation including Scottish Hockey and Scottish Gymnastics. Also integral to the practice is Iain Young, an expert in corporate transactions, insolvency matters and sponsorship contracts. The group, which notably represents a number of gymnastics clubs, is also acclaimed for its knowledge of employment and image rights matters, as well as charity-related queries and applications.

Practice head(s):

Paul Geoghegan

Other key lawyers:

Iain Young

Key clients

Scottish Hockey

Scottish Gymnastics

The Scottish Racing Academy

Boroughmuir Rugby and Community Sports Club

Tartan Golf International Limited

Shot Scope Technologies Limited

Kirkcaldy RFC

Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society

Pollok Football Club

Merchants of Edinburgh Golf Club

Work highlights

  • Legal advisors to Scottish Gymnastics and have advised the organisation and a number of its member clubs on a wide range of legal issues in the last 12 months, including governance and structure.
  • Advised on the formation of The Scottish Racing Academy as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status.
  • Advised Scottish Hockey on the formation of Scottish Hockey Masters, an entity in which masters hockey (including international representation) in Scotland will be operated.