Sport in South West

Ashfords LLP

Horseracing and regulatory mandates constitute particular specialist areas for the sports practice at Ashfords LLP, where the firm acts on behalf of sporting regulators, clubs and retailers, as well as individuals. Adept at handling both contentious and non-contentious matters, the team is led by Rory Mac Neice, who is well versed in race fixing and anti-doping issues, among others. ‘Absolutely superb’ associate Joanne Saye also specialises in equestrian sports, and is frequently sought out by clients for her knowledge of governance, anti-doping and integrity issues. With regard to other sports, the firm is also active in the swimming, football and golf arenas.

Practice head(s):

Rory Mac Neice

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Braithwaite; Joanne Saye


‘Joanne Saye was absolutely superb in every way. Her knowledge of the sport and all the intricate details that are associated with it, meant that at every stage of the process she was able to advise in the best way possible to reach the outcome we set out to achieve.’

Key clients

The Professional Jockeys Association

The Racecourse Association Limited

The National Trainers Federation

Dan Skelton – Racehorse trainer

The Joint Measurement Board Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Sir Mark Todd in connection with the BHA’s regulatory investigation and inquiry regarding video footage which was widely shared online.
  • Acting for leading racehorse trainer Dan Skelton and his trading company in respect of a claim regarding the sale of a high-value racehorse.
  • Acting for racehorse owner Amo Racing Ltd following the decision of the racecourse stewards at Royal Ascot not to disqualify the first past the post following substantial interference being caused to the Amo Racing horse and other horses.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP has considerable experience in motorsport, polo, and horseracing work. Under the leadership of Jeremy Dickerson, the Bristol-based practice frequently advises on matters pertaining to media rights, regulatory and governance issues, and sponsorship agreements. In the contentious space, it is also known for its work in relation to integrity and anti-doping issues, where the team handles cases before the High Court, Court of Appeal, and disciplinary cases. IP and media rights are a particular focus for Helen Scott-Lawler, while senior associate Neil Connor-McLaren stands out for his work on sponsorship agreements and commercial contracts.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Dickerson

Other key lawyers:

Helen Scott-Lawler; Neil Connor-McLaren

Key clients

Trivela Group LLC

PGA European Tour

Racecourse Technical Services Limited (RaceTech)

The Racecourse Association

Fakenham Racecourse

Work highlights

  • Acted for Trivela Group LLC on its acquisition of a majority interest in Walsall Football Club.
  • Acted for PGA European Tour on the employment aspects of two commercial projects: a collaboration agreement with a sports marketing agency relating to tickets, hospitality, consumer experience and associated marketing/technology, and a services agreement for the provision of contact centre and associated customer support in connection with ticket sales for their tournaments.
  • Acted for Fakenham Racecourse on its new multi-year, media rights arrangements with Racecourse Media Group.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP‘s advisory offering in the sports sector encompasses the full range of major disciplines, as well as a broad variety of other mandates including employment law matters, stadium planning work and commercial litigation. Championship footballers, managers and professional athletes form part of the group’s client roster, which also includes professional sports organisations and governing bodies. Practice head Tim Copplestone is hailed as an ‘absolute superstar in the sporting space’ and specialises in sports-related employment matters. Structuring, governance, finance, and corporate acquisition work are core areas of expertise for Robert Ridd.

Practice head(s):

Tim Copplestone

Other key lawyers:

Robert Ridd; Philip Roberts; Anna Youngs


‘Clarke Willmott are a tremendous firm, who deliver outstanding results.’

‘Tim Copplestone – an absolute superstar in the sporting space, being able to deliver results for clients, be they individual athlete or clubs.’

Key clients

The Rugby Players’ Association

Wasserman Media Group

Decathlon UK

The Football Association – Club Wembley

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club

Somerset County Cricket Club

Surfing England

Work highlights

  • Advising sports agency Wasserman on corporate acquisitions, growing its group of sports agencies e.g. acquisition of Esportif group.
  • Advising the Rugby Players Association and its members on player protection matters, including advising the players regarding the insolvency of former Premiership teams Worcester and Wasps.
  • Acting for Premier League football managers and Premier League players in relation to employment contractual matters.

Foot Anstey

Stadium clients regularly turn to Foot Anstey for the firm’s experience advising on operations and events, including trade mark protection advice, planning issues and construction work, as well as IT and data analytics mandates. The practice is also popular with a variety of other sports clients such as football clubs, entertainment companies and sports retailers. Nathan Peacey is the key contact and specialises in regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Nathan Peacey


‘Great at understanding our business – very high quality throughout the team. Really enjoy working together.’

Key clients

English Football League

Football Safety Officers’ Association

Ashton Gate Ltd

Bristol Sport

Go Skydive

Exeter City FC

Bath Racecourse

Belgravia Events

Exeter Racecourse