Sports law in Switzerland

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

Bär & Karrer Ltd. has 'an outstanding reputation in sports law'. In recent work, the team represented UEFA in several arbitration proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and is acting for a Swiss television corporation in a dispute over sports media rights. Team lead Michele Bernasconi is 'a star' and 'the go-to lawyer when the stakes are highest', particularly for disputes cases relating to doping and international football transfers. Jan Kleiner joined from Kleiner & Cavaliero AG in May 2019 and has experience representing high-profile clients including worldwide football and athletics governing bodies.

Practice head(s):

Michele Bernasconi

Testimonials

Bar and Karrer have an outstanding reputation in sports law. The team has depth in experience before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Swiss courts.’

Michele Bernasconi is a star. He is the go-to lawyer when the stakes are highest. He is also extremely friendly and a joy to work with.’

Very high level of professionalism, expertise and experience when dealing with case.’

Reliability, punctuality and knowledge of the environment. I have to point out Michele Bernasconi, Lukas Stocker and Luca Tarzia as outstanding lawyers.’

I firmly believe that the firm respects all the most important standard of international practice, specialised in sports law with partners and associates of a great level.’

The firm has a great impact in the market. There are many practitioners involved and in particular Mr Bernasconi and Mr Kleiner have a great attitude and problem-solving approach at the highest level.’

Key clients

Olympic Council of Asia

Swiss TV Corporation

UEFA

NBC

CONMEBOL

FIFA

ANOC, Association of National Olympic Committees

European Athletics Association

Qatar Athletics Federation

Work highlights

  • Acting for UEFA in several arbitration proceedings.
  • Representing a Swiss TV corporation in a dispute concerning sports media rights.

Baker McKenzie

The 'very proactive and responsive' team at Baker McKenzie is 'experienced and client-oriented' and is praised for its 'professionalism, efficiency and transparency'. It routinely advises on contractual negotiations or termination, sponsorship deals and establishment of governing bodies. Practice head Olivier Ducrey acts as sole arbitrator for the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and chairs World Taekwondo's independent hearing panel for anti-doping, while also assisting the UIAA International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation with all ethics, media and corporate issues relating to ice climbing competitions. In other work, the group advised Lake Placid on the attribution agreement for its successful Winter Universiade 2023 bid.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Ducrey

Testimonials

Very proactive and responsive.  Excellent knowledge of sports law and regulations.’

Great expertise in sports, very experienced and client-oriented.’

We started to cooperate with the team of Baker McKenzie in 2018. In 2017 we had some discussions with WADA for develop our policies on anti-doping result management and WADA strongly recommended to contact Olivier Ducrey from Baker McKenzie in order to reach the higher standard that the Olympic community expected from us. The strengths of the team in my opinion are the followings: professionalism, efficiency, transparency, trust and dedication.’

The team at Baker McKenzie seems to work well together to give us the legal support we need.’

Key clients

Basketball Champions League/FIBA

UIAA

Sarah Hoefflin, Olympic freestyle champion

World Taekwondo

Lake Placid 2023

SportiWorld Sàrl/SportiGenève

Work highlights

  • Acting as sole arbitrator for one of the major basketball leagues in Europe as well as for the Basketball World Cup.
  • Advising Lake Placid on the attribution agreement regarding its successful bid for the Winter Universiade 2023.
  • Assisting the UIAA with issues relating to an ice climbing competition including its ethics code, media rights, corporate and sponsoring matters.

Kellerhals Carrard

As 'key players in the field', the 'extremely experiencedKellerhals Carrard team has 'deep knowledge' of sports law. The practice is known for representing governing bodies before CAS, recently acting for the World Anti-Doping Agency in its bid to increase a FIFA sanction against Peru's national team captain; World Athletics in prosecuting twelve Russian athletes; and the International Weightlifting Federation in a dispute regarding the Olympic qualification system for the 2020 Games. François Carrard and Ross Wenzel led on these matters. Football specialist David Casserly also acted for Paris Saint-Germain and FC Nantes in respective appeals over financial fair play and outstanding fees, as well as for Santos FC against FC Barcelona concerning a player transfer. Marco Balmelli and Massimiliano Maestretti are other key contacts, while Jean-Pierre Morand is 'client-oriented' and 'one of the best lawyers in the field'.

Practice head(s):

François Carrard, Jean-Pierre Morand, Ross Wenzel, Marco Balmelli, David Casserly, Massimiliano Maestretti

Testimonials

Key players in the field. Extremely experienced and deep knowledge of the sports field.’

Jean-Pierre Morand: one of the best lawyers in the field. Client-oriented and excellent advocacy skills. Trustworthy.’

Key clients

International Olympic Committee (IOC)

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA)

International Weightlifting Federation (IWF)

36th America’s Cup Arbitration Panel (member thereof)

Swiss Olympic Association

Euroleague Basketball

FC Porto

Doyen Sports Investments

World Rugby

Ukrainian Association of Football

Football Association of Ireland

Santos FC

Grasshopper Football Club

Polish Anti-Doping Agency

FC Nantes

Fédération Aeronautique Internationale (FAI)

International World Games Association

Ducati Corse (Moto GP)

Work highlights

  • Representing World Athletics in prosecuting 12 Russian athletes before CAS.
  • Acting for Paris Saint-Germain in an appeal to CAS against a UEFA decision concerning financial fair play.
  • Representing the Haas Formula One team in an appeal before the FIA’s International Court of Appeal.

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin's client portfolio includes broadcasters, international governing bodies and various sporting regulators. The firm is advising Swisscom, Cinetrade and Teleclub on a matter concerning ice hockey television rights and the foreclosure of content on paid service platforms. Zurich-based Stephan ErniLucien Masmejan in Lausanne and Geneva-based Xavier Favre-Bulle, who has a longstanding track record before CAS and in larger tribunal cases, are the practice heads.

Practice head(s):

Xavier Favre-Bulle, Stephan Erni, Lucien Masmejan

Key clients

Swisscom/CT Cinetrade AG/Teleclub

Work highlights

  • Advising Swisscom, Cinetrade and Teleclub on a matter concerning ice hockey television rights and the foreclosure of content on paid service platforms.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG

The practice at Niederer Kraft Frey AG is 'very experienced in all relevant matters of sports law' and is singled out for its 'outstanding' levels of expertise across the board. Team head András Gurovits regularly works as a CAS arbitrator and was appointed as acting president of Grasshopper Club Zurich in June 2019, where he is responsible for all strategic, recruitment and legal decisions. It is advising FIFA on World Cup hosting agreements and assisting the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) with its intellectual property protection, compliance issues and exploitation of media rights. Data protection and matters related to GDPR readiness are other areas of expertise. Daniel Eisele specialises in resolving cross-border disputes, as does Tamir Livschitz.

Practice head(s):

András Gurovits

Testimonials

Very experienced in all relevant matters of sports law. Very responsive and able to handle complex matters fast and efficiently. Their expertise in sport matters is outstanding.’

Key clients

Berlinger Group

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

Grasshopper Football Ltd

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)

Swiss Ice Hockey Federation

Work highlights

  • Advising FIFA on all data protection questions and in particular its GDPR readiness.
  • Assisting the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) with its intellectual property protection, compliance issues and the exploitation of media rights.
  • Advising Grasshopper Football Ltd on sports law including corporate, governance, employment, transfer of players, regulatory and litigation matters.

CMS

CMS acts for clients including Team Ineos, numerous football clubs, individual athletes and apparel manufacturers. The team is led by Olivier Carrard in Geneva, who has extensive experience as a CAS arbitrator, and Philipp Dickenmann – a commercial litigator and versatile sports counsel – in Zurich. Pierre Ducret recently handled a training compensation arbitration and a sensitive litigation case concerning an athlete and alleged medical negligence.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Carrard, Philipp Dickenmann

Key clients

INEOS FOOTBALL SA (Team Ineos)

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

Work highlights

  • Representing a professional football player in an arbitration before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, after their former agent claimed the payment of an indemnity for breach of contract.
  • Handling a litigation case concerning an athlete and alleged medical negligence.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Schweiz) GmbH

The 'outstanding' Thomas Werlen heads the team at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Schweiz) GmbH, which provides 'fast and to-the-point' legal advice and includes 'true experts in their relevant fields'. Werlen has 'a strategic mind' and provides 'very good advice' across all disputes and white-collar criminal law cases. The practice is representing FIFA in criminal investigations against former football officials relating to allegations of bribery and corruption. In other work, the team advised Team Football Marketing AG on corporate governance; represented Asia League in disputes and in negotiations concerning its international basketball project; and acted for Monaco Increase Management in its bid to enter the Formula One World Championship from 2021. Volker Rosengarten made partner in January 2019.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Werlen

Testimonials

Fast and to-the-point advice.’

‘Very professional, with top-class.’

‘Thomas Werlen creates a strong support for our business-case, with very good advice, introducing potential partners for our F1 project.’

‘Throughout the entire engagement, we found that the lawyers of the QE team were true experts in their relevant fields with a strategic mind and a high acumen of the sports industry, highly efficient and committed.’

‘Thomas Werlen was the lead partner for our matter who oversaw and handled the whole matter for us. His legal expertise, strategic mind, commitment, professionalism and responsiveness is outstanding. He was always on top of the highly complex matter, tackled issues and proactively addressed potential issues. He is a great negotiator who is continuously bringing home favourable results for his clients. Volker Rosengarten was Thomas Werlen’s right hand and assisted him in many ways with this matter. He continued to impress us with his highly efficient and diligent work, his strategic view and his pragmatic and creative approach to overcome the various legal challenges and to find the best possible solution. Volker was always available and extremely helpful.’

‘I have always found the collaboration with QE to be very professional, collegial, efficient and pleasant. The QE team has always impressed me and my team with their delivery of top-notch work (both from a legal and strategic standpoint), their high commitment and responsiveness and their deep knowledge of sports matters and the peculiarities of this sector. QE lawyers are best-of-class legal advisors who think outside the box and consistently come up with creative and goal-oriented solutions to obtain the best possible results for their clients, even in difficult times.’

‘For Thomas Werlen: Thomas is a highly skilled and experienced practitioner who works very efficiently and pragmatic, and always goes the extra mile to achieve the best-possible result for his clients. He consistently delivers high quality work and he is second to none in terms of responsiveness and strategic view. Also, drawing from his experience as former GC of Novartis, he speaks the client’s language and has a deep understand of the underlying business questions. For Volker Rosengarten: Volker is consistently delivering efficient and high-quality work results, even under great pressure. Volker is an accomplished trial lawyer who has a great acumen of the sports industry. For Remo Decurtins: Remo Decurtins is a great talent in sports matters, as he is both an excellent attorney with broad knowledge of various fields of law and a sports fanatic who knows the ins and outs of the sports industry.’

‘Top experts.’

’24/24 7/7 full service! Top!’

Key clients

FC Basel Holding AG

Team Football Marketing AG

Campos Racing S.L.

Comosa AG

Vexatec AG

Monaco Increase Management SARL

Viagogo Entertainment Inc.

Asia League Limited

Highlight Communications AG

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL)

Work highlights

  • Representing FIFA in criminal investigations against former football officials relating to allegations of bribery and corruption.
  • Advising Team Football Marketing AG on corporate governance for the UEFA Champions League.
  • Assisting Monaco Increase Management with its bid to enter the Formula One World Championship from 2021.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd specialises in anti-doping cases, unfair competition and dismissal claims, media rights and ethics issues, as well as sponsorship and marketing agreements. Philippe Bärtsch and Christopher Boog led in representing 39 Russian Olympic athletes against the International Olympic Committee (IOC), initially in front of the IOC Disciplinary Committee, and then before CAS. Other highlights include representing a TV broadcaster in a dispute over broadcasting one of the world's biggest sporting events, and acting for an international sporting association in both arbitral proceedings and during an annual congress. Anna Kozmenko made partner in January 2019.

Practice head(s):

Philippe Bärtsch, Christopher Boog

Key clients

Saoud Al-Mohannadi, Vice-President of the Qatar Football Association

39 Olympic Russian athletes

Four prominent members of the Russian Olympic Ski Team

International Boxing Federation (AIBA)

Work highlights

  • Representing 39 Russian Olympic athletes against the International Olympic Committee (IOC), initially in front of the IOC Disciplinary Committee, and then before CAS.
  • Acting for a TV broadcaster in a dispute over broadcasting one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
  • Acting for an international sporting association in both arbitral proceedings and during an annual congress.

Bratschi Ltd

Bratschi Ltd's sports law department is led by Reto Arpagaus and Claudio Bazzi. The firm represents individual athletes and clubs alongside events and marketing organisations requiring assistance with transfers, M&A, tax and broadcasting rights. Highlights included assisting IFM International Football Management GmbH and Michael Lang during the player's transfer from FC Basel to Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany, negotiating sponsorship contracts for Swiss national goalkeeper Yann Sommer, and advising Avenir Sports and Entertainment Group on its investment in an ice hockey club.

Practice head(s):

Reto Arpagaus, Claudio Bazzi

Key clients

International Football Management GmbH

Swiss Cycling

Yann Sommer

Michael Lang

advancesport AG

ASGI (Association of Swiss independent golfers)

Avenir Sports and Entertainment Group

Paradigm Group

Work highlights

  • Providing comprehensive legal assistance to Yann Sommer, goalkeeper of the Swiss national team, on sponsorship and private investments.
  • Assisting Avenir Sports and Entertainment Group with various issues relating to its investment in a Swiss ice hockey club.
  • Acting for Michael Lang on his transfer from FC Basel to Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Froriep

The team at Froriep 'thinks for the client' and provides 'to-the-point' legal advice for club owners, athletes and sports organisations and governing bodies. 'Outstanding' practice head Lucien W Valloni is 'a very strong litigator' and provides 'comprehensive' advice. In headline work, he acted for the Fédération Internationale des Associations des Footballeurs Professionels, and others, in a legislative consultation regarding improved player protection. The firm also provides ongoing representation to Trabzonspor before CAS and the FIFA Disciplinary Committee in seeking a back-dated Süper Lig title, after accusations of match-fixing by Fenerbahçe SK during the 2010/11 season.

Practice head(s):

Lucien W Valloni

Testimonials

They do think for the client and do try to find out what is the best way forward. Always come to the point on advice.’

Attorney Dr Lucien Valloni is an outstanding lawyer. He is very professional and is able to advise on very complex issues. Especially in any case of transfer of players or proceedings for players. He is a very strong litigator and very good negotiator.’

Knowledge of the job.’

Mr Valoni has been very kind, comprehensive and is always there to reply to any questions at any time; availability is important.

Key clients

Swiss Association of Football Players (SAFP)

Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPro)

World Associations of Ice Hockey Players Unions (WAIPU)

Curacao Sport & Olympic Federation (CSOF)

Trabzonspor Sportif Yatirim ve Futbol Işletmeciliği Tic. A.Ş

Trabzonspor Futbol Işletmeciliği Tic. A.Ş.

Trabzonspor Kulübü Derneği

Doyen Sports Investments Ltd (Malta)

Ezequel Matias Schelotto

Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC)

Geoffrey Mujangi Bia

Yaroslav Rakiskiy

P.R.O. International AG

Matthew Spiranovic

Work highlights

  • Representing the Swiss Association of Football Players, the Fédération Internationale des Associations des Footballeurs Professionels and the World Association of Ice Hockey Players’ Unions in legislative consultation regarding the Swiss International Private Law Act.
  • Representing Trabzonspor before CAS and the FIFA Disciplinary Committee in seeking a back-dated Süper Lig title, after accusations of match-fixing by Fenerbahçe SK.
  • Representing Curacao Sport & Olympic Federation in a dispute with the International Olympic Committee.

TIMES Attorneys

TIMES Attorneys stands out for its 'depth of experience' and focuses on areas 'in which it has excellent knowledge and competence', particularly arbitration cases. Practice head Stephan Netzle provides 'excellent advice'; he represented the International Ski Federation in a matter related to the Russian doping crisis and also handled other doping cases for the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation from the 2014 Olympic Games.

Practice head(s):

Stephan Netzle

Testimonials

Times Attorney and partner Stephan Netzle provide excellent work and service.’

‘The practice is unique because of its depth of experience in sports law. The firm is top notch and extremely well prepared for all of their cases.’

‘Stephen Netzle is someone that is fairly described as the leading lawyer in the field of sports law. He has the common sense and legal sense to provide excellent advice and counsel. He is an outstanding lawyer.’

‘Dr Stefan Netzle is one the most experienced lawyers in sports-related arbitration on all levels from first-instance adjudication to CAS arbitration over more than two decades and of outstanding personal capacities and knowledge in sports law and arbitration.’

‘The firm is small and focused on certain areas of law in which they have excellent knowledge and competence.’

‘Stefan Netzle: Stefan has an outstanding practice of sports law and on its private international law aspects, in particular regarding arbitration and jurisdiction issues. He is extremely constructive and trustworthy partner, who has close relationships with his clients.’

‘Ulrich Haas is an extremely intelligent and skilful arbitrator. Stephan Netzle is pragmatic and easy to work with, both important capabilities appreciated by clients and panels.’

Key clients

International Ski Federation (FIS)

International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)

International Biathlon Union (IBU)

European Athletics (EA)

International Skeleton and Bobsleigh Federation (IBFS)

World Curling Federation (WCF)

Swiss Wrestling Association

Work highlights

  • Representing the International Ski Federation (FIS) in the Russian doping crisis and suspension of Russian athletes from the World Championships, World Cup and Olympic Games.
  • Handling various doping cases at world championships and Olympic Games which had been appealed to CAS.
  • Acting for the International Biathlon Federation in prosecuting athletes and initiating proceedings in light of the Russian doping scandal.

VISCHER

At VISCHER, Robert Bernet and managing associate Moritz Jäggy lead a 'reliable and very competent' team that demonstrates 'a high level of accuracy, availability and competency' in sports matters. Recent work includes advising Swiss Beach Soccer GmbH on the organisation of beach soccer in Switzerland, including negotiations and the resolution of disputes with Beach Soccer Worldwide and FIFA. The firm also assisted Starc Marketing & Sports GmbH with all legal matters regarding sports event marketing.

Practice head(s):

Moritz Jäggy, Robert Bernet

Testimonials

The team is reliable and very competent.’

The partners at Vischer are accurate, showing a high level of accuracy, availability and competency.’

Key clients

PUMA Retail AG

Dosenbach-Ochsner AG Schuhe und Sport

Snipes (Schweiz) AG

Sportshop Karrer AG

SWISSLOS Interkantonale Landeslotterie

Tennis Club Old Boys Basel

Starc Marketing & Sports GmbH

Pirelli Tyre (Suisse) SA

Swiss Football Federation

Home of eSports GmbH

Work highlights

  • Assisting Starc Marketing & Sports GmbH with all legal matters regarding the marketing of sports and other events.
  • Advising Swiss Beach Soccer GmbH on all legal matters regarding the organisation of beach soccer in Switzerland, including negotiations and resolution of disputes with Beach Soccer Worldwide and FIFA.