Firms To Watch: Sports law

Homburger can draw on strong commercial, corporate and IP expertise within the firm in order to provide sports associations, marketers and sponsors with ' impeccable legal advice.'
The specialist boutique LBS Legal advises football clubs, athletes, agents, federations, and professional cycling teams on a wide range of sports related matters, including disputes, business strategies and rights agreements.

Sports law in Switzerland

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

The team at Bär & Karrer Ltd. is well versed in acting in a variety of sports cases, including litigation, mediation and arbitration matters. The group acts for prominent sports organizations, associations and individuals, advising them on contracts, regulatory compliance and brand protection. The practice is also active for broadcasters in rights, regulatory and contractual issues. ‘One of the most experienced sports law arbitratorsMichele Bernasconi, who also represents parties in disputes, leads the practice with Jan Kleiner who is skilled in media, entertainment and data protection law and ‘combines a fierce work ethic with profound knowledge of the law.’ Associate Lukas Stocker specialises in football regulatory matters, equestrian sports and swimming.

Other key lawyers:

Lukas Stocker

Testimonials

‘The team of Bar & Karrer is a strong team, knowing exactly what the client is after, does not waste time and is able to handle any difficulties in a very professional way. They were very organised, and the most important is that they are to the point. Jan Kleiner is a unique and smart lawyer, who would make any client comfortable and share all details with him, knowing that they can rely on him.’

‘Jan Kleiner is a very trustworthy, smart and professional lawyer. His work has not only met, but exceeded our expectations. He is a dedicated person, provided all needed legal advice, prepared us for the outcome in a professional way. He was very organised and we were sure that he fully understand the case. He paid enough time to the case and was fully aware of risks which he highlighted to us.’

‘Michele Bernasconi is diligent, a pleasure to work with, very well connected, and trusted implicitly by his clients.’

‘Jan Kleiner combines a fierce work ethic with profound knowledge of the law and a friendly demeanour.’

‘I believe that Bar & Karrer is absolutely top.’

‘Michele Bernasconi is one of the most experienced sports law arbitrators. He is impressive.’

‘Jan Kleiner is a very fine sports lawyer, with huge knowledge in particular in football-related matters. He represents often parties before specialized sports tribunals and is extremely appreciated by clients and colleagues.  The other members of the team, in particular Lukas Stocker, are also very strong and very knowledgeable.’

‘For me the sports law team of Bar & Karrer is without doubts one of the best in Europe.’

Key clients

UEFA

Olympic Council of Asia

CONMEBOL

Swiss Football Association

European Athletics Association

Association of National Olympic Committees

Swiss Tennis

CVC Advisers Company

Swiss Football League

Portuguese Football Association

Work highlights

  • Assisting UEFA with all regulatory matters and in particular in all disputes before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Federal Tribunal, e.g. in disciplinary cases, cases related to Financial Fair Play, Match-Fixing etc.
  • Represented His Highness Shaikh Abdul Aziz Faisal Saqer Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, a Member of the Royal Family of one of the United Arab Emirates, in a high-profile disciplinary dispute in equestrian sports.
  • Advised the International Surfing Association (ISA) in a Landmark Decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to Award Governance of Stand-Up Paddle to the ISA at Olympic Level.

Kellerhals Carrard

The ‘very versatile and resourceful‘ team at Kellerhals Carrard impresses with its broad scope of covered matters. It is able to advise on transactions, contracts and dispute resolution; in the latter, it has particular know-how in football and doping-related cases. The client portfolio includes multisport bodies, international federations, national anti-doping agencies, automotive teams and drivers as well as several football federations, clubs, players, agents and investment funds. Ross Wenzel is ‘a world leader in anti-doping‘, and David Casserly specialises in football law. François Carrard  also acts in regulatory, disciplinary and membership disputes. Other key contacts are Jean-Pierre Morand, Marco Balmelli and Massimiliano Maestretti. Associate Nicolas Zbinden is ‘an emerging star in regulatory disputes.’

Other key lawyers:

Nicolas Zbinden

Testimonials

‘The sports law team at Kellerhals Carrard is very versatile and resourceful and that is what make them unique. Adding it to their availability for the client along with their capability of making up different strategies, this firm is a true problem solver. The level of their knowledge in sports law related matters is high and their experience in litigation is superior.’

‘David Casserly is by far the best lawyer I have worked with. He is very well organised, thinks quickly and is very thoughtful and balanced. Further, when it comes to arbitration, he is a true counsel that you can always count on.’

‘The Kellerhals Carrard sports team is unique in terms of its expertise acting on behalf of international sports organisations. It has depth and extensive experience in sports law.’

‘I have the utmost respect for Ross Wenzel and Jean-Pierre Morand.’

‘World-class expertise in sports regulatory disputes led by David Casserly and Ross Wenzel.’

‘As strong on strategy as he is on the law, David Casserly is our go-to for disputes in particular.’

‘Ross Wenzel is a world leader in anti-doping, very personable and a huge asset to any sports regulator.’

‘Nicholas Zbinden is an emerging star in regulatory disputes, in particular anti-doping.’

Key clients

FIBA/Basketball Champions League SA

Paris Saint-Germain Football SASP (France)

FC Nantes

Ukrainian Association of Football

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

World Athletics

International Weightlifting Federation

36th America’s Arbitration Panel (member thereof)

Ducati Motor Holding SpA

Leopard Racing Team Audi

Comtoyou Team Audi Sport

Euroleague Basketball

Grasshopper Football Club

International Swimming Federation (FINA)

FC Porto (Portugal)

Euroleague (Basketball)

World Rugby

Football Association of Ireland

International Powerlifting Federation

European Bridge League

World Bridge Federation

FIVB

International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Manchester City Football Club

International Biathlon Union

Work highlights

  • Advised Manchester City Football Club Limited in the context of the procedures of the UEFA Club Financial Control Bodies.
  • Acted for WADA in proceedings brought before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in connection with the asserted non-compliance of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency for manipulations of data within the Moscow Laboratory.
  • Acted as FIVB counsel in the establishment of Volleyball World SA, a new FIVB majority owned company which will be in charge of the exploitation of all the FIVB commercial rights and the negotiation of the joint-venture agreements between FIVB and CVC Capital Partner which is investing $100m in Volleyball World SA.

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin has considerable experience in advising international and national federations, associations, clubs and other institutions, as well as athletes, agents, event organizers, sponsors, broadcasters and the media. If required, the group can draw on its strong full-service offering to offer expertise in corporate, competition, IP, immigration and tax law. A strong focus is on a variety of sports disputes as well as on investigations. Xavier Favre-Bulle is an arbitration specialist. Lucien Masmejan combines tax, contractual and sports insights, and Stephan Erni is a corporate key contact. The trio heads up the team.

Other key lawyers:

Hikmat Maleh

Testimonials

‘Responsive, pragmatic advice. Good turnaround times, hard-working.’

‘The team is able to advise on a wide range of sports-related matters (regulatory, commercial, arbitration, etc.) in a timely and efficient manner.’

‘Xavier Favre-Bulle is knowledgeable in sports arbitration matters.’

Key clients

INEOS Group (Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited)

International Olympic Committee

Swisscom, CT Cinetrade, Teleclub

Water Sports Tribunal

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

Work highlights

  • Representing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) before the CAS Ad Hoc Division in the Agapitov matter (Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo).
  • Assisted INEOS Group with the acquisition of one third of the shares in Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited, the company that owns and operates the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
  • Advised the National Hockey League (NHL) on its 10-year global partnership with Sportradar, a leading global provider of sports betting and sports entertainment products and services.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG

Niederer Kraft Frey AG has a strong track record in sports arbitration proceedings, acting as counsels as well as arbitrators. The team represents sports federations, enterprises and individuals, often from the football or hockey space. Practice head András Gurovits is the key contact in these matters. DR-specialists Tamir Livschitz  and Daniel Eisele  regularly get involved in sports-related matters. Other areas of expertise are media law, transactions and governance matters.

Practice head(s):

András Gurovits

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Eisele; Tamir Livschitz

Testimonials

‘András Gurovits is an excellent and an extremely complete lawyer. His work as CAS arbitrator is excellent, as he knows the law and the practice very welll and works very hard to know everything about the case – a top lawyer.’

Key clients

Junckers Industrier A/S

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

Ferencváros Budapest Football Club

Grasshopper Football Foundation

Grasshopper Football Ltd

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)

Swiss Ice Hockey Federation

FC Basel Holding AG, FC Basel 1893 AG

David Degen

Philipp Degen

Daniela Ryf

Loris Benito

Gregor Kobel

SBE Management AG

Jan van Berkel

Silvan Dillier

Adrian Grbic

Kevin Rüegg

Ludovic Magnin

Shkodran Mustafi

Julian von Moos

Pajtim Kasami

Yusuf Demir

Work highlights

  • Acting as the Vice-President of Grasshopper Football Ltd, operating professional football of the Grasshopper Club Zurich.
  • Advising the International Ice Hockey Federation IIHF on a wide range of sports and corporate matters as well as compliance issues.
  • Advising Ferencváros on a wide range of sports and corporate matters as well as on legal proceedings.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Schweiz) GmbH

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Schweiz) GmbH impresses with ‘a strategic mind and a high acumen of the sports industry.‘ The team shows impressive know-how in sports disputes, white-collar crimes and investigations, in which it often works closely with its international network. Sports governing bodies, sports organisations, teams and individuals regularly from a wide variety of kind of sports. It also advises on governance, deals and crisis management. Group head Thomas Werlen is considered to be a ‘highly skilled and experienced practitioner.’ Associate Remo Decurtins specialises in contentious sports matters.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Werlen

Other key lawyers:

Remo Decurtins

Testimonials

‘Quinn Emanuel offers thorough and state-of-the-art internal investigations services, which have successfully navigated us through these challenging times. 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 and with a strong professional relationship with all relevant law enforcement authorities.’

‘Thomas Werlen’s legal expertise, strategic mind, commitment, professionalism and responsiveness are truly exceptional. In addition, we were very impressed by his sound understanding of our interests both from a business and a strategic point of view. He is always on top of the matter, even if it is a complex matter with many work streams, tackled issues and proactively addressed potential issues. He is a great negotiator who is continuously bringing home favourable results for his clients.’

‘I had very positive relations with Thomas Werlen: very competent, professional, and fast to understand and resolve issues.’

‘I have always found the collaboration with QE to be very professional, collegial, efficient and pleasant. QE lawyers think ‘outside of 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. The QE offices in various jurisdictions always work together efficiently and act as one integrated team.’

‘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. He speaks the client’s language and has a deep understanding of the underlying business questions.’

‘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.’

Key clients

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL)

Team Football Marketing AG

Vexavit SA

Hertha BSC

Asia League Limited

Highlight Communications AG

FC Basel Holding AG

Fédération Internationale de Hockey (FIH)

Campos Racing S.L.

World Boxing Super Series AG

Work highlights

  • Advising Hong Kong-based Asia League Ltd. related to the ‘East Asia Super League’ project, the first integrated international basketball ‘Champions League’ across Asia.
  • Acting as a member of the supervisory board of Hertha BSC.
  • Advising Monaco F1 Racing Team on bidding for a team entry in the Formula 1 Championship from 2023.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

The sports practice at Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd is led by Philippe Bärtsch and Christopher Boog, ‘an unmatched pair of counsel that has proven extremely efficient to win difficult cases.’ Clients such as sports federations, organizations, and athletes as well as state entities and involved corporations instruct the group in a variety of matters. Sports arbitration, agreements, broadcasting rights, and doping matters are areas of particular strength. Anna Kozmenko has ‘deep knowledge of sports law.’

Practice head(s):

Philippe Bärtsch; Christopher Boog

Other key lawyers:

Anna Kozmenko; Louis Burrus

Testimonials

‘The team is composed of numerous lawyers, all very knowledgeable.’

‘They do not leave any stone unturned.’

‘Chris Boog and Philippe Bärtsch form an unmatched pair of counsel that has proven extremely efficient to win difficult cases.’

‘SW has consistently demonstrated superb knowledge and expertise in all major areas of sports law and delivered very good results in rather challenging circumstances. In some of the most difficult cases, the SW lawyers have really exceeded our expectations. From our perspective, this team has firmly established their reputation in sports law. We plan to use their services in the years to come.’

‘Among the members of the SW team, two partners stand out – Philippe Baertsch and Anna Kozmenko. One could not help but appreciate their hands-on approach, can-do mentality, high-quality legal advice and attention to the needs of the client.’

‘Anna Kozmenko’s deep knowledge of sports law, her positive attitude and warm personality shone brightly throughout many tough proceedings.’

‘Highly effective and extremely intelligent lawyers; very skilled and experiences in sports law, and in particular in arbitration.’

‘Christopher Boog, Anna Kozmenko and Phillipe Bärtsch really stand out. They are extremely good and very dynamic.’

Key clients

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

Mr. Sun Yang

39 Olympic Russian Athletes

4 Prominent Members of the Russian Olympic Ski Team

Russian Paralympic Athlete: Mikhalina Lysova

International Boxing Federation (AIBA)

6 Olympic Track and Field Athletes

RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping Agency)

Kujtesa Net

Work highlights

  • Represented the Russian Anti-Doping Agency against the World Anti-Doping Agency before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a CAS arbitration involving numerous parties and intervenors.
  • Representing Sun Yang in a high-profile arbitration before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, having helped the Athlete to successfully set aside before the Swiss Supreme Court an earlier award rendered by another CAS Panel for reason of bias of the Panel president.
  • Acted as Swiss legal counsel to the US enterprise Synergy Sports in respect of its acquisition by Sportradar.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie advises federations, leagues, major sports teams, investment banks and financing entities, among others, in sports law matters. The group has experience in contractual issues and in sport arbitration proceedings, and also covers a variety of agreements. Dispute resolution specialist Luca Beffa is the key name after the departure of Olivier Ducrey in October 2021.

Other key lawyers:

Luca Beffa

Testimonials

‘A highly qualified and dedicated team with great expertise and network in sport.’

‘Their expertise, dedication and soft skills stand out.’

Key clients

Ralph Boschung, F2/Indycar driver

Nico Hischier, NHL hockey player

Basketball Champions League/FIBA

Jeremy Guillemenot, Swiss professional footballer

International Tennis Table Federation ITF Independent Tribunal

International Wushu Federation

UIAA

Sarah Hoefflin, Olympic Champion Freestyle

World Taekwondo

Lake Placid 2023

SportiWorld Sàrl/SportiGenève

K. Zetchi (President of Algerian Football Federation)

M. Njoya (President of Cameroun Football Federation)

Work highlights

  • Advised Ralph Boschung, the Formula 2 driver, on the negotiation and execution of the professional driver contracts, with respect to the sponsorship contract and the management contract.
  • Advised Carabao, the energy drinks company, in regard to the impact of COVID-19 on sponsorship deals.

CMS

CMS

Other key lawyers:

 

 

MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep Ltd

The team at MLL Legal is experienced in acting for team owners, individual athletes and sports organisations from a wide range of sports, such as football, horse racing, cycling, ice hockey, tennis, beach volleyball, gymnastics and motor racing. Covering contentious and non-contentious matters, the group advises on IP, brand management, disciplinary cases and negotiations. Dispute resolution expert Jean Marguerat and trade mark and designs specialist Peter Schramm lead the practice. Dmitry Pentsov is a key contact for Russia-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Jean MargueratPeter Schramm

Other key lawyers:

Dmitry Pentsov

Key clients

BWF (Badminton World Federation)

Blake Leeper

Trabzonspor Sportif Yatirim ve Futbol Işletmeciliği Tic. A.Ş., Trabzonspor Futbol Işletmeciliği Tic. A.Ş. and Trabzonspor Kulübü Derneği, Trabzon, Turkey

P.R.O. International AG

Curaçao CSOF

Alexander Povetkin & Universe of Sport LLC (formerly, World of Boxing LLC)

Work highlights

  • Advising the WBF (World Badminton Federation) on Swiss trade mark protection and prosecution.
  • Counsel to double-amputee sprinter Blake Leeper in relation to his being barred from competing against able-bodied athletes using his running-specific prosthetics in the Olympic Games and World Athletics series.
  • Representing a regional sports club in proceedings aimed at obtaining the championship title for the Super League season 2010/2011 following another regional sports clubs fixing of various championship games during the same season.

TIMES Attorneys

TIMES Attorneys

Other key lawyers:

Stephan Netzle; Olivier Ducrey

VISCHER

VISCHER demonstrates know-how in questions regarding TV and online broadcasting rights, sports betting, sports marketing and merchandising, transfer agreements, corporate structures and association law. The group is active for a range of Swiss organisations, athletes and companies, often from the football and eSport space. Corporate practitioner Robert Bernet and the ‘highly skilled‘ managing associate Moritz Jäggy head the team.

Practice head(s):

Moritz Jäggy; Robert Bernet

Testimonials

‘The team is headed by Moritz Jäggy, a professional beach soccer player who understands the sports business.’

‘Moritz Jäggy is highly-skilled, commercially-minded and knows the sports business by heart.’

Key clients

PUMA Retail AG

SWISSLOS Interkantonale Landeslotterie

Swiss Football Association

Tennis Club Old Boys Basel

Home of eSports AG

Swiss Beach Soccer GmbH

Football Association of North-western Switzerland & Football Association of the region Aargau

Swiss Gymnastics Association

Swiss Ice Skating

Athletes Network & Athletes Academy AG

Telesport International AG

Eleven Sports Network Limited

Bodyclub

DAZN

Dosenbach-Ochsner AG Schuhe und Sport