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Sport in South West

Ashfords LLP

The team at Ashfords LLP stands out for its impressive expertise in horseracing and regulatory work, although it is often also instructed on matters pertaining to football and golf. Clients include a wide range of individuals, sporting regulators and associations, as well as clubs and retailers. With 'outstanding knowledge of all aspects of horseracing', Rory Mac Neice heads the department, with added expertise in anti-doping regulations and issues arising from race-fixing allegations. 'Effective' associate Joanne Saye has developed a practice in equine sports work, particularly in relation to contractual and negligence matters.

Practice head(s):

Rory Mac Neice


Very strong team with expert in-depth knowledge and experience in horse sale disputes. My ‘go to’ people for disputes over sales of horses.’

A sports law team outside London with genuine experience and expertise and a strong client base.’

Rory Mac Neice has leading expertise in racing cases. He has outstanding knowledge of all aspects of horseracing – horseracing regulation, personal injury, sales disputes. Very good at putting you at ease and speaking the same language.’

Rory has real knowledge and experience in equine sports law. Joanne is a dedicated and effective associate.’

Key clients

The Professional Jockeys Association

The Racecourse Association

The British Show Horse Association

The British Harness Racing Club

Ascot Racecourse

Paul Nicholls – champion racehorse trainer

Dan Skelton – leading racehorse trainer

The Joint Measurement Board

John Velazquez (USA Hall of Fame Jockey)

Oisin Murphy – Champion Jockey

Exeter City Football Club

Work highlights

  • Veterinary professional negligence matter for a premier racehorse owner related to the death of a valuable (c£500k) racehorse whilst in the care of an equine veterinary hospital.
  • Providing a number of updates to a leading national golfing association’s constitution and regulations, such as new policies reflecting an updated attitude to diversity.
  • Acted in a range of matters for Exeter City F.C., from organising the lease of the club’s training ground to securing a renewal of the club’s stadium, St. James Park.

Burges Salmon LLP

Led by Jeremy Dickerson, the team at Burges Salmon LLP handles matters relating to football, motorsports, and equine sports, particularly focusing on regulatory work, including rule drafting, constitutional and governance issues, as well as  anti-doping and financial regulation. Drawing on Helen Scott-Lawler's expertise, the group is also able to advise on the exploitation of IP, media rights and data in a sports setting.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Dickerson

Key clients

The Racecourse Association

The Queen’s Club

Unicorn Products

Gunn & Moore

Racecourse Technical Services

Virgin Sport

Play Sports Group

Scottish Premier Football League

Scarlets Regional

Work highlights

  • Advising Scarlets Regional in relation to a competition law and contractual dispute with the Welsh Rugby Union over the distribution of funds
  • Advising Racecourse Technical Services on contractual arrangement for broadcast rights and related services in the horse racing sector.
  • Advising Virgin Sport on multiple partnership deals, most notably on all aspects of its multi-year agreement with Nike and Virgin Sport’s Hackney Festival of Fitness, including in branding and merchandising aspects.

Clarke Willmott LLP

'Very linked-in, commercial and hard-working', Clarke Willmott LLP's team is noted for representing and advising Premier League and Championship football managers, elite athletes, sports executives and professional sporting bodies, on commercial and employment matters. The group is led by 'unflappable' sports-sector employment lawyer Tim Copplestone, who has experience before the Premier League tribunal. Philip Roberts leads on debt recovery for sporting associations and retailers in the sector. Kevin Jones retired in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Tim Copplestone

Other key lawyers:

Philip Roberts


A leading firm in the South West in sport without a doubt. Very linked-in, commercial and hard-working. Produces excellent outcomes for clients. Very personable too.’

Tim Copplestone is a real gem, unflappable and wears his intelligence lightly.’

Key clients

Bristol Bears

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club

Somerset County Cricket Club

The Rugby Players’ Association

Wasserman Media Group

Decathlon UK

The Football Association – Club Wembley

St Enodoc Golf Club

Surfing England

Somerset Cricket Board



Work highlights

  • Advising Wasserman Media Group and its athletes, players, and managers on employment and corporate sports law matters.
  • Advising the trade union for all elite Premiership rugby players, The Rugby Players Association, on contractual disputes and all player protection legal matters.

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey's sweet spot is advising stadium clients on all aspects of running their operations, including commercial support, brand protection, regulatory, health & safety and licensing advice. The group is led by Nathan Peacey.

Practice head(s):

Nathan Peacey

Other key lawyers:

Neil Parkes; Mark Searle

Key clients

Football Safety Officers’ Association

Ashton Gate Limited

Henley Regatta


Arena Racing Corporation

Exeter City FC

Bath Racecourse

Stadium For Cornwall and Threemilestone Project