Firms To Watch: Sport

TLT is a regular port of call for a number of professional sports clubs, public and regulatory bodies, commercial operators and individuals across a range of sports law matters; key name include employment litigator Jonathan Rennie and Keith Anderson, who recently moved over from Gilson Gray - he has a notable focus on football matters.

Sport in Scotland

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP is renowned for its contentious and non-contentious capabilities across the entire spectrum of sports law matters, translating into regular instructions from leading international federations and governing bodies, in addition to high-profile sports clubs, individuals and representatives. Department head Bruce Caldow is noted for his expertise in regulatory, governance and disciplinary issues; the latter is an area in which senior partner Lorne Crerar further excels. Tom Thomas concentrates on broadcasting, sponsorship and IP rights matters, where the Edinburgh-based Jamie Watt is also an essential contact, for major cycling championships and football leagues, while Carolyn Morgan oversees receipts of complaint in the sport of gymnastics. Other recommended individuals include David Kerr, an expert in football disputes before the SFA Panel, and senior solicitor Andrew Maxwell, an active figure in the sport of cricket. All named individuals are named in Glasgow unless noted otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Caldow

Other key lawyers:

Lorne Crerar; Tom Thomas; Jamie Watt; David Kerr; Carolyn Morgan; Andrew Maxwell


‘This firm gives me absolute confidence. The experience and approach of their staff is second to none.’

‘Bruce Caldow is the expert. He advises us regularly and has been key to us developing a sector-leading conduct in sport process.’

‘Tom Thomas supports the governance side of our organisation and has helped us further review and develop our articles of association as well as put together template commercial agreements.’

Key clients

sportscotland expert resource

Scottish Rugby


Cricket Scotland

Airdrie FC

Scottish Rugby

Triathlon Scotland

Commonwealth Games Scotland

Camanachd Association

Cricket Scotland

Work highlights

  • Providing ongoing advice for sportscotland.
  • Provided Scottish Rugby with governance advice leading to a revised corporate structure to better reflect ownership and decision-making within rugby in Scotland.
  • Advising UK Sports Councils Equality Groups on transgender inclusion guidance for domestic sport, including training sessions for governing bodies across the UK and beyond.

Addleshaw Goddard

Renowned for its football sector capabilities, Addleshaw Goddard is a regular advisor to major Scottish and international clubs, individuals and governing bodies on a range of contentious and non-contentious sporting mandates, including season ticket finance. Seasoned litigator Simon Catto often acts for players and clubs in contractual disputes, while Helena Brown concentrates on commercial and regulatory issues, which has involved supporting high-profile clients undergoing digital transformation post-pandemic. Solicitor advocate Erin Grieve, promoted to managing associate in September 2022, is also active on the contentious side, representing clubs and bodies in court hearings and arbitrations. Catto and Brown jointly spearhead the Edinburgh-based practice.

Practice head(s):

Simon Catto; Helena Brown

Other key lawyers:

Erin Grieve

Key clients

Celtic Football Club

The Scottish Football Association

St Mirren Football Club

Motherwell Football Club

Kilmarnock Football Club

Heart of Midlothian Football Club

Sheffield Steelers

Scottish Ice Hockey

Hibernian Football Club

Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

Work highlights

  • Successfully defending a claim raised against Heart of Midlothian Football Club by Dundee United Football Club following the transfer of Lewis Neilson.
  • Acting for St Mirren Football Club in a FIFA-related arbitration involving the transfer of free-agent Ryan Strain.
  • Advised Hibernian Football Club on its agreement with principal catering partner, Elior. This involved negotiating, reviewing and drafting the contract governing the catering offering at Easter Road.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP’s sports practice draws on the firm’s wider immigration, employment, property and IP expertise to provide clients, including leading clubs, individuals and governing bodies, with commercial and contentious advice. The team is led by the Edinburgh-based director Stephen Farrell, who is a dual-qualified (Scotland and England) commercial litigator with considerable experience in transferrable arbitrations. Also noted for their contentious capabilities are the Aberdeen-based Neil Smith, and senior associate Megan Briggs, who often handles sport-related trademark disputes. The immigration-focused Jamie Kerr is a go-to for clubs and players facing complex visa issues. All named individuals are based in Glasgow unless noted otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Farrell

Other key lawyers:

Neil Smith; Jamie Kerr; Megan Briggs; Mandy Laurie


‘Stephen Farrell has developed an excellent track record of acting in football disputes. He is able, direct and commercially-focused.’

‘A leading practice in Scotland. They are highly visible and engaged in the sector.’

‘Stephen Farrell is conscientious and always keen to support.’

Key clients

Scottish FA

Scottish Rugby Union plc

The Scottish Professional Football League

Aberdeen FC

Sir Alex Ferguson/ACF Sports Promotions

Sky Limited

Elite Sports Group Limited

Queens Park FC

Hibernian FC


Work highlights

  • Acted for Elite Sports Group Ltd in their multi-million pound dispute with Rangers FC regarding their kit.
  • Acted for the Scottish Professional Football League enforcing their intellectual property rights.


Leveraging the firm’s wider corporate, commercial, tech and litigation expertise, CMS‘s Glasgow-based team is the first port of call to a number of major Scottish and international clubs, governing bodies and other corporate entities. Practice head Neeraj Thomas is a notable figure in the contentious sphere, handling disciplinary and regulatory issues as well as various brand protection and IP enforcement matters. On the non-contentious side, senior associate Chris Bowie advises governing bodies and multinational corporations on sponsorship and ambassador agreements, though is also geared to support with Thomas’s contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Neeraj Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Chris Bowie


‘A very knowledgeable team with lots of experience in the sector. Their understanding of our regulatory position and stakeholders puts them in a strong position to give us the best advice.’

‘Neeraj Thomas’s knowledge of our rules and regulations, as well as our stakeholders, allows him to provide calm and measured advice, which is always very much solution-driven.’

Key clients

Scottish FA

The former Joint Administrators of Rangers Football Club

Heriot Watt Services Limited

Fields In Trust

Golf East Kilbride Limited

Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Scottish FA in respect of various disciplinary matters arising from alleged rule breaches of clubs, players and others under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA and are also currently providing interim support for the Compliance Officer role.
  • Defending the former joint administrators of Rangers Football Club in a high-profile claim brought by the joint liquidators of Rangers Football Club plc, stating the club was undervalued in its eventual sale in June 2012.
  • Advised Trump International on the review and negotiation of a venue agreement for the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship to be held at Trump International, Scotland in August 2023.

Aberdein Considine

With particular expertise in the football and golf sectors, Aberdein Considine is a regular port of call for a number of professional clubs, athletes, agents and academies. Robert Holland arrived from Balfour+Manson LLP in January 2023, boosting the team’s capabilities in sports employment matters; he heads up the practice alongside Euan McSherry, Ross Webb and the Perth-based Charlie Fraser, all of whom are established members within the firm’s dispute resolution team. All named individuals are based in Edinburgh unless noted otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Euan McSherry; Robert Holland; Charlie Fraser; Ross Webb

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Quin


‘What impressed me most was the professional manner in which they carried out their business with our club and staff. Whenever I have to contact them for legal advice, I receive a prompt answer and always feel comfortable that the advice provided is considered and accurate. The word that best sums them up to me is trust.’

‘I cannot speak highly enough of Anthony Quin – always available and deals with any matters in a calm manner.’

‘Charlie Fraser is extremely approachable and responds to any requests from me promptly.’

Key clients

DW Football Ltd

Esportif/Wasserman Rugby

St Johnstone FC

Russell Anderson Community Trust

Stenhousemuir FC

SPFL Individual players

Darren Walker

Hawick Colts

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club

Polaris Publishing

Work highlights

  • Assisted St Johnstone FC with various litigation, contractual and disciplinary issues.
  • Advised Garioch Sports Centre and Community Holdings on a funding project for the extension and redevelopment of the site to include an additional 3G pitch, athletics facility and best in class tennis facility.

Brodies LLP

Clubs, individuals and corporate organisations turn to Brodies LLP cross-disciplinary team for its wide-ranging expertise in sports law matters, ranging from transactions and commercial contracts to planning, data management and litigation. Edinburgh-based practice head Andy Nolan is often involved in commercial and IP matters for individuals and businesses; his recent work has encompassed the boxing, golf and football sectors. Seasoned litigator Ross Campbell (Glasgow), promoted to senior associate in November 2022, serves as a regular port of call in court hearings and arbitrations for various clubs and corporate entities.

Practice head(s):

Andy Nolan

Other key lawyers:

Grant Campbell; Ross Campbell; Rachel Lawson


‘Brodies’ work is of an extremely high standard. They are also extremely commercial in their approach and take the time to understand our business.’

‘Brodies are able to service all of our needs in one place.’

‘For commercial contracts and data issues related to our sports loyalty business, we use Grant Campbell. His advice is pragmatic, commercial and very user-friendly.’

‘Rachel Lawson has advised us on a number of commercial contracts as well as data protection and consumer protection matters. She is thorough, efficient and very easy to deal with.’

Key clients

Cabot Developments

Engel & Volkers Hotel Fund

Marine and Lawn

Work highlights

  • Advised Marine and Lawn – a US-based investor in luxury hotels and resorts – on hospitality agreements with The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews to host the 150th Open at St Andrews in 2022.
  • Advised Canadian Golf Resort developers Cabot Developments on the acquisition of the Castle Stuart Golf Hotel and Resort on the Moray Firth.
  • Advised the sponsor of a leading Glasgow-based football club in the Scottish Premier League regarding the naming rights to the club’s stadium.

BTO Solicitors LLP

With a specialism in the football, golf, boxing and darts sectors, BTO Solicitors LLP is an attractive choice for various leading sports clubs and governing bodies. Practice head Will Cole, an accredited mediator and commercial litigation expert, is regarded for his experience in disciplinary procedures, while Glasgow-based Andrew Sleigh, who has worked as a consultant for the firm since April 2022, handles corporate and commercial issues. Senior associate Michael Cox concentrates on sponsorship agreements and corporate deals. All named individuals are based in Edinburgh unless noted otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Will Cole

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Sleigh; Michael Cox


‘Knowledgeable team with a lot of experience in the sports sector.’

‘Practical advice that focusses on a positive outcome.’

‘Andrew Sleigh has lots of experience in the sector and is adept at dealing with any issues that arise.’

‘Will Cole is calm and measured, with an understanding of our objectives and those of our stakeholders.’

Key clients

Scottish Football Association

Quipu TV

Lenzie Rugby Football Club

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Scottish Football Association in proceedings before the Court of Session brought by Park’s of Hamilton (Holdings) Limited. This was connected to a dispute between the Scottish Professional Football League Limited and The Rangers Football Club Limited regarding sponsorships.
  • Advised QTV on an investment deal with UK Steel Enterprises Limited to deepen its broadcasting services in relation to various premier sporting events like the Scottish SPFL, the Scottish Cup and Scottish Rugby Super 6.
  • Advised QTV on the Hire of Studio and Operational Services Agreement with the SPFL and SFA.