Sport in South West

Ashfords LLP

Horse racing and regulatory work are notable strengths at Ashfords LLP, whose practice is led by Rory Mac Neice (who was a former jockey himself). In addition, the teams acts for clients in relation to other sports, such as football and golf. Its varied expertise includes commercial agreements, sport-related taxation disputes, brand management and corporate transactions. Andy Braithwaite has a wealth of experience advising sporting governing bodies and sport property owners on contractual agreements for events and sponsorship, among other matters.

Practice head(s):

Rory Mac Neice

Other key lawyers:

Andy Braithwaite; Stephen Moore; Graham Cridland; Andrew Rothwell; Joanne Saye

Key clients

The Professional Golfers’ Association

Exeter City Football Club

The Professional Jockeys Association Limited

London Borough of Brent

The Racecourse Association Limited

The British Show Horse Association Limited

The British Harness Racing Club Limited

Ascot Racecourse Limited

Sam Twiston-Davies

Paul Nicholls – Champion racehorse trainer

Hayley Turner – leading female jockey

Jamie Moore

Silvestre De Sousa – Champion jockey

Work highlights

  • Acted for National Hunt jockey Sam Twiston-Davies in a successful appeal against the decision of the Cheltenham stewards to fine him for not parading the well-known horse Politologue before the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
  • Represented professional jockey Robert Winston in a successful appeal against a finding of careless riding at a major race meeting.
  • Advise the PGA in relation to various matters arising under internal regulations, as well as its Benevolent Fund.
  • Acted for London Borough of Brent to enable Tottenham Hospur to remain at Wembley Stadium for a further season.
  • Advising Exeter City Football Club on property matters relating to a lease and envisaged construction of stadium improvements.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP has a strong profile in football, motorsport and horse racing. Its team has an excellent track record of completing commercial deals and handling disputes in all three areas. The broader workload encompasses advice to clients governance issues, anti-doping and financial regulation. Cricket and rugby are other areas where the group has been active recently. Jeremy Dickerson, who heads up the firm's IP and sports team, is highly experienced in sponsorship, merchandising, advertising and contentious sporting matters. Recently promoted senior associate Chris Davies is a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Dickerson;

Other key lawyers:

Roger Bull; Helen Scott-Lawler; Chris Davies

Key clients

The Racecourse Association

Bristol City Football Club

Unicorn Products Limited

Gunn & Moore

Racecourse Technical Services Limited

Britbet Racing LLP

Artemis Technologies Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Racecourse Technical Services Limited on its appointment by Arena Racing Company to provide coverage and integrity services at all ARC horse racing fixtures in 2019.
  • Advised Artemis Technologies Limited on a variety of arrangements and deals to establish its operations and develop, monetise and exploit its technology in sailing.
  • Assisted The Racecourse Association on the establishment of the Racing Authority, a tripartite structure responsible for levy distribution from April 2019.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's national sports sector team excels in representing professional athletes - particularly football and rugby players - in employment-related matters. It also advises coaches and professional sports organisations, among other clients. The team's work often comprises cross-border elements, with strong links with clients in the US being particularly notable. Kevin Jones is the group head.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Jones

Other key lawyers:

Tim Copplestone; Sarah Driscoll

Key clients

Bristol Bears Rugby

Bristol Flyers Basketball

Bristol Sport

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club

Somerset County Cricket Club

Wasserman Media Group

The Rugby Players’ Association


Decathlon UK

Work highlights

  • Advised Gloucestershire County Cricket Club on termination of their business development manager, in addition to offering legal advice on the constitution and diversity promotion.
  • Provide employment and HR advice to Wasserman Media Group on an ongoing basis.
  • Provide The Rugby Players’ Association with frequent legal advice and support on players’ issues, ranging from advice on disciplinary matters to insurance disputes.
  • Assisted Bristol Bears Rugby Club in the purchase of a new training ground.
  • Represented Somerset County Cricket Club in the termination of Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft’s employment contract.

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey's group is experienced in advising sportspeople, employers and governing bodies; the scope of the work covers commercial contracts, regulatory issues, technology, data protection and employment matters. Areas of expertise include football, rugby, sailing and cycling. Sports betting is a notable area of growth for the practice; the team acts for several betting companies and governing bodies. Jonathan Oddy leads the team from the Bristol office.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Oddy

Other key lawyers:

Mark Searle; Neil Parkes

Key clients

Bristol Sport (incorporates Bristol City Football Club and Bristol Rugby Club)

Ashton Gate Limited

Event Advantage Solutions Limited

Football Safety Officers’ Association

Henley Regatta


Arena Racing Corporation

Exeter City FC

Bath Racecourse

Stadium For Cornwall and Threemilestone Project

Work highlights

  • Assisted Bristol Sport with reviewing and negotiating proposed kit supply agreements for football and rugby match day kits.
  • Advising Cornwall Council on a £400m mixed-use development scheme to create, among other things, a new sports stadium  in Cornwall.
  • Advising Bristol Sport on renegotiation of agreements with an electronic ticketing provider.

Royds Withy King

Royds Withy King is primarily active in the horse racing industry, where it acts for jockeys, owners and trainers. James McNeile and Sharon MacDonald, who are both based in Bath, provide legal advice on regulations, transactions and negligence claims.

Practice head(s):

James McNeile; Sharon MacDonald

Other key lawyers:

Richard White