Sport in South West

Ashfords LLP

At Ashfords LLP, the team is particularly noted for its 'unrivalled knowledge' in issues related to the horse-racing industry, although it also receives regular instructions from clients in football and golf. Areas of expertise include regulatory and governance work, commercial agreements (such as sponsorships and merchandising), sports-related taxation and brand management issues. Rory Mac Neice is the team leader, and focuses on matters concerning race fixing and integrity issues, often supported by associate Joanne SayeAndy Braithwaite advises sport governing bodies and sport property owners on event agreements, sponsorships and constitutional issues.

Practice head(s):

Rory Mac Neice

Other key lawyers:

Andy Braithwaite; Joanne Saye


‘Rory Mac Neice and Joanne Saye have a specific sector understanding and experience of equestrian sports law.’

‘An unrivalled knowledge of the equine industry, coupled with the ability to liaise with other professional bodies such as path labs and their senior staff and relate this information in layman’s terms to authorities and disciplinary hearings. Always available to us, giving clear and precise guidance and advice.’

‘The team stands out for its understanding of the industry and its workings and interaction. In particular, Rory Mac Neice and Joanne Saye have vast knowledge and attention to detail.’

‘Very strong on complex horse racing-related litigation.’

‘Jo Saye and Rory Mac Neice have an exceptional understanding of the racing industry, making Ashfords (and Roy Mac Neice in particular) the foremost firm in the UK for any racing-related litigation.’

Key clients

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA)

The Professional Jockeys Association Limited

The Racecourse Association Limited

The British Show Horse Association Limited

The British Harness Racing Club

Ascot Racecourse Limited

Paul Nicholls

Dan Skelton

The Joint Measurement Board Limited

Brian Hughes

Oisin Murphy

Plymouth Leander Swimming Association

The National Trainers Federation

Work highlights

  • Advising jockey Oisin Murphy in respect of an anti-doping control positive in France, successfully arguing no fault.
  • Acting for the British Show Horse Association Ltd in redrafting its entire anti-doping code and penalty structure.
  • Advising a leading gymnastics club on safeguarding issues and associated matters following serious allegations being made against it in the print and television media.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP's team has expertise in horse-racing, football and motorsports matters, with a strong regulatory offering that spans rule drafting, constitutional and governance issues, integrity issues and anti-doping. Jeremy Dickerson leads the group, which also includes IP lawyer Helen Scott-Lawler, who advises on managing and exploiting IP, media rights and data in sport. Associate Neil Connor-McLaren is a commercial contracts expert who often advises on sponsorship arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Dickerson

Other key lawyers:

Helen Scott-Lawler; Neil Connor-McLaren

Key clients

The Racecourse Association

Racecourse Technical Services Limited

Scottish Premier Football League

Work highlights

  • Provided ongoing advice to the Racecourse Association throughout the early stages of lockdown, through to the resumption of racing behind closed doors.
  • Continued to advise RaceTech in respect of a range of contractual arrangements for broadcast rights and related services in the horse-racing sector.
  • Advised the Scottish Premier Football League on an ad hoc basis, including in the early stages of lockdown, and took over management of the client’s IP portfolio, advising on SPFL’s lease at Hampden Park Stadium.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's sports group has experience in a wide variety of matters, including stadium-related planning law and construction projects, as well as high-value commercial litigation and elite sport clinical negligence claims. Heading the team is Tim Copplestone, an expert in sports employment law, who counts a number of professional sporting organisations among his clients. Philip Roberts is a debt recovery lawyer who has developed a niche in sports sector-related matters. Senior associate and employment specialist Sarah Driscoll advises international and professional players on contractual and termination issues.

Practice head(s):

Tim Copplestone

Other key lawyers:

Philip Roberts; Sarah Driscoll

Key clients

The Rugby Players’ Association

Wasserman Media Group

Decathlon UK

The Football Association – Club Wembley

England 7s Team

Phil Neville

Jack Wilshere

Greg Bateman

Phillip Cocu

Bristol Bears Limited

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club

Somerset County Cricket Club

Surfing England

George Kruis


CSM Sport and Entertainment LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised the Premiership Rugby Association on player protection legal issues, including pay cuts implemented across the Premiership teams as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Advised leading global spots agency Wasserman Media Group on its acquisition of professional football agency Key Sports Management Limited.
  • Advising Decathlon on numerous matters, including successfully defending unfair dismissal and whistleblowing tribunal claims.

Foot Anstey

At Foot Anstey, the sports team sits within the firm's regulatory practice, with experience in sports-related commercial and employment contracts and IP rights. The group also has a niche in the law around the safe operation of stadiums, with numerous instructions from Championship and Premier League football clubs in relation to safety, policing, stadium management and licensing issues. The group is led by regulatory expert Nathan Peacey, who works closely with Tim Williamson in the Southampton office.

Practice head(s):

Nathan Peacey

Other key lawyers:

Mark Searle


‘Extensive experience of the functions of safety advisory groups and prohibition notices.’

‘The team stands out for its work ethic, response times and ability to work to deadlines.’

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

Go Skydive

Work highlights

  • Acting as primary adviser to Sky on content protection and TV anti-piracy issues.