Sport in West Midlands

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP‘s Birmingham office has amassed a wealth of experience in contentious, regulatory and commercial sports law, with a prominent focus on the football industry. On the contentious side, Mark Hovell, who is based in Manchester, stands out for his substantial track record in hearing cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. Richard Santy in Birmingham is also well known for his strength in litigation, specifically in relation to employment disputes involving football clubs and athletes across a range of sports, including golf and cycling. Carol Couse, who is based in Manchester, is recommended for her expertise in regulatory and commercial sports law, while senior associate Phil Hutchinson stands out for his work acting on behalf of professional athletes in high-profile disputes.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hovell; Carol Couse; Richard Santy

Other key lawyers:

Phil Hutchinson


‘Mills & Reeve’s sports team is market-leading. The strength in-depth is rivalled by very few others in the market.’

‘Carol Couse is a go-to lawyer for disputes before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.’

‘Mark Hovell is an encyclopaedia when it comes to sports disciplinary and regulatory decisions and is a real asset to have on your side in any such dispute.’

‘Phil Hutchinson is quickly becoming one of the UK’s top sports disciplinary lawyers. He has an excellent list of clients and has been involved in some of the biggest cases in the last year or two. He always goes above and beyond what you would expect for his clients. He is market-leading when it comes to dealing with betting cases.’

Key clients

Watford FC

Professional Footballers’ Association

Rangers FC


England Golf

New Era

YM&U Group Ltd

Gambling Commission

Work highlights

  • Advised Watford FC on a number of managerial and staff appointments and dismissals.
  • Representing former England player Daniel Sturridge in a claim brought by The FA under the FA Betting Rules.
  • Advising Professional Footballers’ Association and its member players on a number of legal disputes arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, including furlough, deferrals and the safe return to play.

Squire Patton Boggs

With a large team across the UK, Squire Patton Boggs is well positioned to handle significant M&A, regulatory matters, commercial agreements and employment litigation involving major football clubs and other prominent sporting organisations. David Hull has built a strong reputation as a result of handling numerous M&A transactions for football clubs. On the non-contentious side, Charlie Frost is a core member of the team and is singled out for advising clients on complex employment law matters, while Simon Jones stands out for his diverse commercial sports practice. At a more junior level, senior associate Sarah Wilkinson is a standout lawyer, with a particular focus on employment issues.

Practice head(s):

David Hull

Other key lawyers:

Charlie Frost; Sarah Wilkinson; Simon Jones

Key clients

Sheffield Wednesday FC

Alpine Racing

Aston Villa FC

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Project 11

Work highlights

  • Advising Sheffield Wednesday Football Club in relation to various charges brought by the EFL.
  • Advising Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club on an amendment and extension of its existing facilities agreement.
  • Advising Alpine Racing on all aspects of UK employment matters.