Sport in Yorkshire And The Humber

McCormicks

Commended as ‘the best in the business’, Harrogate-based McCormicks attributes its reputation to founding partner Peter McCormick, who is praised as ‘the UK’s leading football lawyer by a mile’ and was recently appointed as interim chairman of The Premier League. McCormick leads the practice alongside Philip Edmondson, who focuses on disputes involving key clients, such as Leeds United FC, and James Towler, who advises sporting clients on acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, group reorganisations and commercial agreements. Other key members of the team include commercial property head Heather Roberts and associate Emily Steed.

Practice head(s):

Peter McCormick; James Towler; Philip Edmondson

Other key lawyers:

Heather Roberts; Emily Steed

Testimonials

‘Peter McCormick is hugely esteemed as a sports lawyer and key player in the field.’

‘Attention to detail, results orientated, objective and confident but realistic.’

‘We have used senior partner Peter McCormick and his litigation partner Phil Edmondson. Their in-depth knowledge and experience of the football sector is outstanding. It’s also helpful that Peter is incredibly well-connected within the industry. If there’s anything that makes them unique, it’s Peter’s connections and the value he can add in a strategic sense to Phil’s tactical expertise.’

‘Peter McCormick is outstanding, very knowledgeable and well connected.’

‘Unique sports expertise, particularly football. The best in the business.’

‘Peter McCormick is the UK’s leading football lawyer by a mile.’

Key clients

The Premier League

The Premier League Charitable Fund

Leeds United FC

The Bostik League (Isthmian League)

Professional Game Match Officials Ltd

Frank Boddy (Shoot Proprietor) and the Ripley Castle Shoot Group

Visit Harrogate

Harrogate Town AFC

Walsall FC

McLaren Formula One

Otley RUFC

Leeds Rhinos RLFC

Robert Jones (Long Mountain Shoot and other shoots)

Liam Botham (son of Lord Ian Botham)

Norwich City FC

IDRS/The EFL

The Southern League

The Northern Premier League

Wycombe Wanderers FC

Lord Ian Botham

Work highlights

    Walker Morris LLP

    Walker Morris LLP ‘has real strength in sales and purchases of football clubs’, and counts Fulham FC, AFC Bournemouth and Burnley FC among its key roster of clients. The team is well-versed across a range of other matters, from sponsorships deals, transfer agreements and commercial partnerships to real estate transactions and disputes. Practice leader David Hinchcliffe is noted for his expertise in finance mandates involving football clubs, while Alistair McHenry specialises in sports litigation, including arbitrations and contentious regulatory matters. Other key members of the team include commercial property partner Jeremy Moore as well as senior associates Charlotte Smith, who focuses on employment disputes, and Christian Slinger.

    Practice head(s):

    David Hinchliffe

    Other key lawyers:

    Alistair McHenry; Jeremy Moore; Charlotte Smith; Christian Slinger

    Testimonials

    ‘Walker Morris has a first-rate sports law practice. Their breadth of experience in acting for a large number of top clients (including a substantial number of Premier and lower league clubs), which extends from running multi-million pound fraud claims in arbitrations to minor contractual disputes, means that they have seen it all and are able to provide a highly effective one-stop shop for clients’ sports and commercial issues.’

    ‘David Hinchliffe understands clients’ needs and with his commercial and insolvency background, he is able to give comprehensive advice that covers all bases. Alistair McHenry is also excellent. A good lawyer whose clients get on with him well and respect him, and who manages cases very effectively.’

    ‘Highly commercial team and has real strength in sales and purchases of football clubs.’

    ‘David Hinchliffe is shrewd, hardworking and finds solutions.’

    Key clients

    Swansea City FC

    Fulham FC

    Burnley FC

    Crystal Palace FC

    AFC Bournemouth

    Swindon Town FC

    Brighton & Hove Albion FC

    Nottingham Forest FC

    Sheffield United FC

    Wrexham AFC

    York City Knights

    Work highlights

    • Advised Burnley Football Club’s Chairman, Michael Garlick on the club’s sale to US private equity firm, ALK Capital.
    • Advised AFC Bournemouth in concluding the contract for their new Head Coach, Scott Parker
    • Advised Australian businessman, Clint Goodchild, on the acquisition of Rugby League Championship side York City Knights.

    Pinsent Masons LLP

    Counting UK Sport, Liverpool FC and The Jockey Club Racing among its roster of clients, the multidisciplinary team at Pinsent Masons LLP handles a range of corporate matters, including acquisitions of Premier League football clubs and joint ventures, as well as employment mandates. National head Trevor Watkins oversees the Leeds-based team, which is jointly led by Matthew Claydon-Stead and senior associate Joe McMorrow. Claydon-Stead focuses on financing work, while McMorrow is a key contact for contentious and non-contentious employment issues; elsewhere, senior associate Ben Proctor continues to build his experience in M&A involving football clubs.

    Practice head(s):

    Trevor Watkins; Matthew Clayton-Stead; Joe McMorrow

    Other key lawyers:

    Ben Proctor

    Key clients

    World Athletics

    UK Sport

    Manchester City FC

    Liverpool FC

    The Rugby Football League

    Infront Sports & Media AG

    Dundalk Football Club

    PEAK6 Investments

    Championship Racing

    Musselburgh Racecourse

    Shawbrook Bank

    ALK Capital LLC

    Global Venue Services

    Urban Legacies

    Aldermore Bank

    Hampshire Trust Bank

    The Jockey Club Racing

    Derby County

    Blackburn Rovers

    10Ten Talent

    Threshold Sports

    Work highlights

      Clarion

      Clarion’s cross-practice sports team acts for sporting retail companies, including Sports Direct, well-known sportswear brands and sporting venues on a range of corporate and dispute resolution mandates. Senior partner Richard Moran, who advises on purchase, sale and funding matters, leads the group, which also includes head of commercial Matthew Hattersley. The team is well-placed to leverage the expertise of other departments across the firm, including real estate and IP.

      Practice head(s):

      Richard Moran

      Other key lawyers:

      Matthew Hattersley

      Key clients

      Silverstone Circuits Ltd

      Sports Direct

      ASICS UK Limited

      Work highlights

        Freeths LLP

        Freeths LLPformidable’ sports practice ‘leaves no stone unturned’ when advising its client roster on a range of mandates, from arbitrations and disputes to sporting contracts, acquisitions of football clubs and financing matters. Director Geoff Cunningham leads the team and acts for well-known athletes, including professional boxer Amir Khan, as well as numerous football clubs, such as Derby County FC and Leyton Orient FC. Cunningham, who joined the firm from Walker Morris LLP in October 2020, is especially noted for his expertise in contentious sport matters.

        Practice head(s):

        Geoff Cunningham

        Other key lawyers:

        Angélique Richardson

        Testimonials

        ‘The team are extremely responsive, passionate and fight hard for their clients. They assemble a formidable team for each case and they leave no stone unturned.’

        ‘Geoff Cunningham is the star of the show. He is down to earth, efficient, and always on top of his brief. His tactical nous is second to none. Angélique Richardson is also one for the future. She too fights hard for her clients and her written work is always excellent.’

        ‘Specialty-focused and extremely knowledgeable in this space.’

        Key clients

        Derby County Football Club

        Leyton Orient Football Club

        Amir Khan

        Barrow AFC

        Southend United Football Club

        Josh Warrington

        Work highlights

        • Advised Derby County Football Club, via its joint Administrators Andrew Hosking and Carl Jackson (both of Quantuma Advisory Limited) in respect of an Appeal of a 12-point deduction sanctioned by the EFL.
        • Advised professional boxer, Amir Khan, on his next professional bout against rival Kell Brook.
        • Advising an individual in respect of the acquisition of one of two Championship football clubs, with a value of c.£50m.