Sport in Scotland
Burness Paull LLP’s team represents Scottish governing bodies, international organisations, football clubs and players, advising on matters such as disciplinary procedures, planning permissions, conduct issues and employment law. The team has further expertise in prosecuting clubs in tribunal proceedings on behalf of the Scottish FA, and in raising interdict proceedings in the Intellectual Property Court in Scotland.
Harper Macleod LLP acts for international federations, national governing bodies, major football clubs and public sector bodies in a range of mandates including disciplinary hearings, safeguarding matters, trade mark registrations, GDPR compliance and intellectual property infringement. The team also acts as sole legal adviser to national sport agency sportscotland. Bruce Caldow, who sits as chairman of the SFA Judicial Panel, advised on several high-profile cases of alleged misconduct in 2018. Carolyn Morgan heads the Scottish Gymnastics Conduct in Sport Panel, where she is tasked with overseeing complaints regarding conduct, safeguarding and regulation, appointing panel members and scrutinizing decisions.
Other key lawyers:
Scottish Rugby Union
Aberdeen FC 2
Glasgow City Council
Enduro Sports Organisation Limited
Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland
- As sole legal adviser to sportscotland’s expert resource group, advising numerous Scottish governing bodies on the broadest possible range of legal issues.
- Acted as exclusive external legal advisers to Glasgow City Council in relation to the European Championships 2018, advising on the wide range of legal issues associated with staging a large scale mulita-sport event including sponsorship and other commercial contracts, infrastructure and construction contracts, anti-doping arrangements, trade mark registrations and brand protection advice.
- Managing the worldwide trade mark portfolio for Celtic Football Club, along with carrying out international online anti-counterfeiting work and providing external commercial and transactional IP legal support.
- Providing governance support to Scottish Swimming on a range of matters including GDPR compliance.
- Advising Aberdeen Football Club in relation to a compensation dispute over young player Lewis Ferguson.
Addleshaw Goddard's team represents football players, clubs and agents in regulatory proceedings raised by the SFA and the SPFL, and is the sole legal support to Celtic for the football club's GDPR compliance programme. Partner Helena Brown handles sponsorship agreements, trademarks and licensing, IT and software procurement for several football clubs. Legal director Tony McGlennan, who joined the firm in September 2018, has brought insider knowledge to the team from his tenure as compliance officer at the SFA.
“Helena Brown is a real revelation in terms of her responsiveness and willingness to support and build relationships with clients. Her technical expertise is unparalleled.”
“I instruct Addleshaws due to their client relationship driven approach, their responsiveness and the pragmatic way they approach their advice. They have made every effort to understand our business.”
The Scottish Football Association
Celtic Football Club
- Provided advice to a Premiership football club in relation to a Scottish Professional Football League tribunal hearing on the appropriate transfer fee for an incoming player.
- Advising a Premiership football club following an appeal against a notice of complaint served by the SFA relating to the construction of a particular regulatory point.
- Acted for Heart of Midlothian FC in obtaining a rare victory against the SFA Compliance Officer on behalf of our clients.
- Acted as the sole legal support to Celtic Football club in terms of GDPR compliance.
Anderson Strathern’s team, which acts for a roster of clients including sportspeople, golf and football clubs and public sector bodies, specialises in advising on contracts, funding arrangements and sporting partnerships. The team also has notable strength in governance matters, with key clients including the Scottish Sports Association and Rangers Football Club.
BTO Solicitors LLP handles a wide range of matters for the Scottish Football Association, including advising on the hosting of major sporting events, commercial contracts, acquisitions and partnership agreements between sporting bodies and rules revision exercises. The team recently advised the SFA on the high-profile acquisition of national football stadium Hampden Park from Queen’s Park Football Club. The team is led by Andrew Sleigh, who 'really understands the issues that sports clubs face', while Gary Booth provides corporate governance and commercial contracts advice to football clubs and the SFA.
Other key lawyers:
Scottish Football Association
Hampden Park Limited
Royal Troon Golf Club
Tommy Gilmour Sports Promotions
- Acting on behalf of the Scottish FA in relation to the acquisition of title to Hampden Park from Queen’s Park Football Club.
- Provided ongoing advice in relation to the hosting of matches during Euro 2020 Championships at Hampden, including finalisation of the cooperation agreement with UEFA.
Brodies LLP' practice takes a commercial approach to sports law, advising companies, individuals, sports clubs and public service bodies on contractual matters such as sponsorship agreements and service partnerships, acquisitions and structural matters, including establishing charitable foundations and advising councils on the spin-out of their services to charitable bodies. The team has a particular interest in tennis in Scotland, acting for the Judy Murray Foundation in a range of work including sponsorship and organisation of the Scottish ATP Championship Tour. Practice head Andy Nolan advised OPG-4 on its acquisition of Dundee United Football Club during 2018.
“Brodies’ work is of an extremely high standard. They advise on the legal aspects of any particular matter, but they are also extremely commercial in their approach and take time to understand our business, our challenges and think of ways to overcome them.”
“The firm’s work advising us on GDPR was superb and not only helped us get through this potential minefield, but actually meant that we were helping some of our clients navigate the challenges that GDPR created.”
“I can’t speak highly enough of Grant Campbell and his approach. His advice is pragmatic, commercial and very user-friendly.”
Park of Keir Partnership
Murray Play Foundation
Royal Durnoch Golf Club
Rewards 4 Group
Scottish Football Partnership Trust
Western Baths Club
Council Leisure Trusts
Revolution Global Sports Consulting
- Advising in the acquisition of the majority shareholding in Dundee United Football Club.
- Worked with Judy Murray to establish the Judy Murray Foundation.
- Providing ongoing contractual support to the Rewards 4 Group on a number of managed services.
- Reviewing Western Baths Club’s organisational structure to help provide long-term security and attain fiscal benefits for an iconic sporting institution.
Lindsays frequently carries out governance reviews for sporting clubs, while also advising athletes, coaches and football players on a range of matters. The practice also provides legal advice to scottishathletics and its board on an exclusive basis. Solicitor advocate Brent Haywood handles high value, contentious disputes, including defending Rangers chairman Dave King against action taken by the Takeover Panel in relation to his acquisition of shares in the football club.
Other key lawyers:
Carlton Cricket Club
Corstorphine Lawn Tennis Club
British Boxing Board of Control
- Carried out a review of Carlton Cricket Club’s governance structure.
- Carried out a review of Corstorphine Lawn Tennis Club’s constitution and its internal governance structures.
- Acted for the British Boxing Board of Control in relation to a fatal accident inquiry into the death of professional boxer Michael Towell, who died after being knocked down in a televised bout in 2016.
Morton Fraser’s team has strong connections in the gymnastics world in Scotland, serving as sole legal adviser to Scottish Gymnastics, and regularly assists gymnastics clubs gain charitable status through OSCR approval. The team also advises footballers on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters and acts for private companies on investments and acquisitions in the sector. Corporate head Iain Young acts for a number of football clubs, handling transactions, commercial agreements and disciplinary matters, while practice head Paul Geoghegan advises on a wide range of matters, including image rights for a Premier League footballer.
Other key lawyers:
Ministry of Defence
Boroughmuir Rugby and Community Sports Club
Shot Scope Technologies
Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society
Mobo Sports Management (UK) Limited
Tartan Golf International Limited
Pollok Football Club
- Acted for Shot Scope Technologies with regard to an investment round in the company by Equity Gap, Scottish Enterprise, Old College Capital and private investors.
- We advised Dynamic Gymnastics Club, Gymnastics Club of the Year 2017, on its registration as a charity with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
- Appointed by Scottish Gymnastics as its nominated legal advisor and affiliated partner organisation for the third consecutive year.
- Acted on behalf of Howe of Fife Rugby Club in the defence of misconduct charges issued by the Scottish Rugby Union following an initiation ceremony which went wrong.