Sport in South East

Dentons

Milton Keynes-based senior associate Nick Harrison leads the sports team at Dentons, which handles work including partnership agreements and sponsorship matters for major sports teams. The practice is able to draw on the wider firm's vast international reach, benefiting from support from colleagues in the corporate, employment and construction disputes teams. Sports clients can benefit from the firm's capabilities in specialist areas such as tax, planning and specialist financing. James Fairbairn and Tim Constable are both recommended for their expertise in dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Nick Harrison

Other key lawyers:

James Fairbairn; Tim Constable

Key clients

Watford Association Football Club Limited

Saracens Limited

Science in Sport Limited

Silverstone Circuits Limited

Esports Awards Limited

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1

Oliver Turvey

Work highlights

  • Advised Silverstone on the deal with Formula One to keep the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit for the next five years.
  • Advised Saracens on its partnership with Tottenham Hotspur FC, including the staging of one key Saracens game at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium each season.
  • Assisted Esports Awards Limited with its strategic decision to move the Esports Awards from London to Arlington, Texas including its master agreement with Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell's sports team has three dedicated leads: Hannah Clipston (Southampton) Tom Barnard (Gatwick) and Michael Taylor (Chichester). Respectively, they specialise in international work, dispute resolution and representing industry personalities. More broadly, the firm covers matters such as immigration, medical negligence and rehabilitation from injury. In addition, clients can draw on the wider firm's experience in corporate matters, real estate and wealth planning services. Senior associate Aurelia Butler-Ball has a first rate reputation for her knowledge of media and sponsorship interests. Georgie Collins is recommended for strategic protection, breach of confidence and brand infringement.

Practice head(s):

Hannah Clipston; Tom Barnard; Michael Taylor

Key clients

Nuffield Health

Greenwich Leisure Limited

Sheffield City Trust

7 Hills Leisure Trust

Giles Long /Lexicon Decoder

Sweaty Betty

Amy Tinkler

Jessica Breach

Work highlights

  • Advised Giles Long/ Lexicon Decoder Ltd on the protection, commercialisation and enforcement of trade marks, design rights and copyright.
  • Assisted Sweaty Betty with its global IP requirements.
  • Advised Amy Tinkler in connection with a complaint to British Gymnastics.

Moore Law

Consultant Mike Townley leads the specialist sports team at Moore Law. Known for his work in anti-doping, broadcasting and sponsorship agreements, he also has experience as in-house counsel to the International Paralympic Committee. More generally, the firm is known for its work with sports federations, organisations and athletes. This includes advising on rules and regulations, discipline, competition law and trademarking/IP. In addition, it increasingly represents social media influencers who have broadcasting interests in e-sports, gaming and celebrity events. In this regard, founder Tris Moore is recommended for IP and IT issues.

Practice head(s):

Mike Townley

Other key lawyers:

Tris Moore

Testimonials

Mike Townley has a unique background, having worked for years as General Counsel of the International Paralympic Committee‘.

Mike Townley is a great lawyer, a very nice person, extremely committed to client matters. A wonderful combination of knowledge and passion‘.

In the 14 years that I have known Mike Townley, apart from his obvious and deep experience, he understands the strengths and weaknesses of a given case, from both sides, and therefore knows how to position the strategy to maximise the effectiveness of the case. He is not afraid of giving an honest appraisal, which is invaluable in avoiding lost causes and so keeping costs to a minimum. Whilst giving the process the opportunity to be resolved before further escalation is necessary, so providing an exit if required, if needs be Mike is very capable of resolutely pursuing the case to its conclusion. I cannot recommend him highly enough‘.

Key clients

British Triathlon Federation

British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association

Welsh Triathlon Association

National Sporting Club

Insignia Sport International

Technogym UK

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP has a first-rate reputation for its broad sports offering. Specifically, its sector team, overseen by Charles Maurice and Tom Lingard, is known for its work for football, golf, motorsport, horse racing and cricket clients. The firm deals with brand enforcement, reputation management; trademarks, licensing and IP disputes. Clients can also benefit from its commercial experience, covering sponsorship deals, player representation contracts and regulatory issues. Tom Collins has advised Premier League football clubs while Nick Schippers has experience in advertising and marketing regulation.

Practice head(s):

Charles Maurice; Tom Lingard

Other key lawyers:

Tom Collins; Nick Schippers

Testimonials

The firm has great experience and expertise across the sports sector, in particular on IP and commercial work. They have a real in-depth knowledge and understanding of the sports industry and can apply this knowledge to resolve complex legal issues for clients in this field. Many of the individuals have worked for an array of high-profile sports clients across many different sports and various practice areas, so they are very well placed to advise clients in this sector‘.

Tom Lingard is invaluable as an external adviser and guiding hand to any in-house counsel. drawing on a vast amount of knowledge and first-hand experience. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Charles Maurice brings a real background knowledge of sports issues in the commercial field. Very practical in his advice.’

‘Tom Collins is focused, very knowledgeable on the sports industry (from a legal and current affairs perspective) and very personable‘.

Key clients

Brighton and Hove Albion FC

MediaDrive Limited

Jenahura Players Limited

Intelligentgolf

Everton FC

Work highlights

  • Orchestrated a formal brand protection & anti-counterfeiting programme for Brighton and Hove Albion FC.  
  • Advised MediaDrive in connection with their deal with Discovery Channel (DPlay) for the sale of advertising across all of Discovery’s digital golf platforms in the UK and Europe. This included additional global rights.
  • Acted for Jenahura Players Limited in connection with the Jenahura Tour Academy. This was principally in connection with the establishment of the academy and included initial fundraising.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP

The sports offering at Field Seymour Parkes LLP assists clients with commercial, real estate and employment matters. The team is overseen by Ian Wood-Smith, a founding partner of the firm who has significant experience in the sports sector, including  21 years as a director of Reading Football Club.

Practice head(s):

Ian Wood-Smith

Rainer Hughes

Essex practice Rainer Hughes handles a wide range of matters for sports organisations and individuals. The firm is particularly notable for its reputation management work, regularly obtaining injunctions to protect sports personalities. In addition, it is known for providing licensing, sponsorship and media advice. Sanjay Panesar leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Sanjay Panesar

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP's offering stands out for its niche expertise in the extreme sports sector; the practice is also is notable for cross-discipline work covering conservation and adventure expeditions. Disability is an additional specialism, and the firm has gained a reputation for effectively 'driving the agenda' throughout Sussex. In this respect, Bruce Hayter is as a member of Sussex FA’s Disability Football Committee and his renowned for his innovative approach. More generally, the team's solicitors cover areas such as governance, corporate and employment issues. Richard Cripps is recommended for committee restructuring while Alan Zeal has substantive experience in the charity sector.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Hayter

Other key lawyers:

Richard Cripps; Alan Zeal

Testimonials

Rix & Kay have been exceptional in supporting our charity. They give us full support whether or not it is for paid service‘.

Key clients

Sussex County Cricket Club Foundation (and others)

Sussex Football Association

Canterbury Rugby Football Club

Ansty Village Centre Steering Committee Trust.

The Russell Martin Foundation

Active Sussex

Sussex Rugby Football Club

Crawley Rugby Football Club

Seaford Rugby Football Club

Brighton and Hove Sea Serpents RFC

Work highlights

  • Worked in collaboration with the Sussex County Cricket Club Foundation to bring together a forum of some of the most prominent regional sports clubs to develop and optimise the provision of disability sport.
  • Worked with Sussex FA to outline a county-wide programme to provide employment training on equality, discrimination and mental well-being in the workplace for Directors and Managers.
  • Supported the restructuring of various club committees and officer roles  at Canterbury RFC.

Royds Withy King

Working primarily in the equestrian thoroughbred sector, the sports team at Royds Withy King has two leads: Andrew Chalk in Oxford and Richard Brooks, who splits his time between Oxford and London. Their respective specialisms are regulatory work for the British Horseracing Authority and dispute resolution for owners, riders and trainers. Recurrent work includes counsel on disciplinary procedures, bloodstock agreements, charitable representation and personal injury litigation. Charlotte Ebbutt is the name to note for racing and bloodstock enquiries.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Chalk; Richard Brooks

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Ebbutt

Testimonials

A great team who really know the ins and outs of horseracing and bloodstock. Practical advisers and realistic. Quick and personable‘.

Very quick and approachable; no airs and graces and very practical‘.

Deep knowledge of the industry sector – bloodstock and equestrian. Committed individuals who are able to empathise with clients. A large firm with the depth of resources to deal with almost any piece of work across the spectrum of disciplines‘.

Andrew Chalk is the acknowledged industry expert. He has a calm and understated personal style but is able to articulate his advice in an easily understood and, when required, robust fashion‘.

Key clients

Qatar Bloodstock Limited

The Professional Jockeys Association

Qatar Racing Limited

Retraining of Racehorses

Oliver Sherwood

Keith Harte

Mick Channon

Paul Cole

Noel Williams

Work highlights

  • Advised Retraining of Racehorses, racing’s leading charity for former racehorses, on drugs related disciplinary cases for prohibited substances under the RoR Rules and Regulations.
  • Assisted Qatar Bloodstock Limited on commercial contracts relating to stallions and jockey retainers.
  • Advised the The Professional Jockeys Association on corporate governance matters.

Verisona Law

Football specialist Michael Dyer leads the sports team at Verisona Law. Notable for its role in securing the future of Porstmouth FC, the team also provides a number of bespoke services for golf clubs. This includes the provision of advice on corporate structures (the firm has worked for the Hampshire Professional Golfers’ Association) and advising industry professionals on personal contracts. In addition, the practice is known for supporting the construction of new facilities and works with Sport England on related projects. Grant Usher is recommended for commercial contracts work while Sue Ball specialises in employment law.

Practice head(s):

Michael Dyer

Other key lawyers:

Grant Usher; Sue Ball

Testimonials

Work is performed to a high standard and in good time. It is relevant to the sector with a significant amount of knowledge of the business shown, which makes the quality of advice and service outstanding‘.

The partners and associates are always accessible and we receive answers to questions literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week‘.

The integrity, work ethic and subject knowledge of the company is second to none‘.

Verisona Law offer an extensive knowledge of the sports legal field that proved so essential in dealing with the complexities of a football club administration process‘.

We predominantly deal with Mike Dyer, Robert Harris and Sue Ball. All three are willing to engage with us at very short notice and throughout our association with the company have always found them to be professional, courteous and expedient in everything the they do‘.

The stand out partner is Mike Dyer, assisted by Grant Usher. Several factors differentiate Mike from others. He is genuinely hands on and unlike some of the very large firms does actually undertake a lot of the work himself‘.

Verisona Law – and in particular Mike Dyer- have consistently demonstrated outstanding expertise in the professional sports world. Their core skills are in M&A where they have helped clients navigate their way through a market sector which is very complex and often highly emotive‘.

Mike Dyer is very personable and this combined with his experience and knowledge combine to provide excellent advice and an outstanding service‘.

I have received excellent advice and counsel from Mike Dyer‘.

Manner, professionalism, integrity and sheer willingness to help are Mike Dyer’s huge strengths‘.

Mike Dyer displayed an amazing level of understanding and professionalism at all times. His understanding of the legal aspects of football governance was essential‘.

Key clients

Portsmouth Community Football Club

Hampshire PGA

Havant Hockey Club

Bolton Wanderers Support Trust

Havant Waterlooville Football Club

Work highlights

  • Provided the Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust with advice to compile a formal bid for ownership.
  • Assisted Portsmouth FC by giving legal support to its board on a wide range of matters.

Warners Solicitors

The sports team at Warners Solicitors specialises in regulatory work for shooting agencies, grouse moors, landed estates and high-profile individuals. In this respect, it acts for equestrian clients including the Hunting Office and the Masters of Foxhounds Association (often defending prosecutions for alleged breaches of the Hunting Act). On the civil side, its expertise is employed in disputes over the purchase of horses, drafting commercial/employment agreements and orchestrating livery covenants for racecourses and training yards. Practice head Michael McNally is an authority on the Animals Act 1971 while Tim Ryan is a veteran of criminal law.

Practice head(s):

Michael McNally

Other key lawyers:

Tim Ryan

Key clients

The Hunting Office

The Masters of Fox hounds Association

JM Osborne and Co. Ltd

William Powell Ltd

GSC Grays

Work highlights

  • Advised the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles on a variety of constitutional, disciplinary and employment matters.
  • Advised the Masters of Foxhounds Association on a variety of issues including internal constitutional matters, disciplinary proceedings and the employment of hunt staff.
  • Advised J M Osborne & Co Limited in relation to the employment of gamekeepers and other staff, high profile grouse moors, shooting estates and landed estates.