Sport in Yorkshire And The Humber

McCormicks

McCormicks has an excellent track record in the sports sector and has an impressive number of key names on its client roster, including The Premier League. Under the leadership of Peter McCormick, who splits his time between London and Harrogate, the practice handles a range of contentious regulatory work and litigation matters; the latter is headed up by Philip Edmondson. Transactional lawyer James Towler advises national and international clients on corporate mandates, particularly acquisitions and disposals. The group is also skilled in advising shoot proprietors on lease renewals and site operations work. Head of the commercial property practice Heather Roberts and senior associate Sara Morgan, who advises on employment law, also contribute to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Peter McCormick; James Towler; Philip Edmondson

Other key lawyers:

Sara Morgan; Heather Roberts

Key clients

The Premier League

The Premier League Charitable Fund

Leeds United FC

The Bostik League (Isthmian League)

Professional Game Match Officials Ltd

Harrogate Town AFC

Walsall FC

McLaren Formula One

Otley RUFC

Leeds Rhinos RLFC

Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Norwich City FC

IDRS/The EFL (formerly the Football League

The Southern League

The Northern Premier League

Wycombe Wanderers FC

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Premier League Charitable Fund on sponsorship contracts and advising on data protection issues.
  • Representing The Premier League on various matters.
  • Representing Leeds United FC and its players in high-profile investigations brought by the FA and EFL.

Walker Morris LLP

Walker Morris LLP fields a market-leading sports practice and is able to handle the full spectrum of work including dispute resolution and real estate mandates. Overseen by David Hinchcliffe, the group has extensive expertise in sports law and counts a number of football clubs including Fulham FC and Reading FC as key clients. Alistair McHenry is the key name for contentious mandates and leads the sports disputes team, which handles disciplinary proceedings, regulatory disputes and commercial arbitration proceedings. On the commercial property side, Jeremy Moore handles high-value portfolio transactions. Also in the team is senior associate Charlotte Smith, who advises clients on employment litigation and international immigration matters, and Liz Coley and Katie Reed.

Practice head(s):

David Hinchcliffe

Other key lawyers:

Alistair McHenry; Jeremy Moore; Charlotte Smith; Katie Reed; Liz Coley

Testimonials

‘Outstanding client list and first class quality of both contentious and non-contentious partners.’

‘David Hinchclffe – commercial partner with unparalleled client list and unflappable, charming manner. Alistair McHenry – litigator with excellent judgement and diligence.’

‘The team combines legal expertise with a commercial attitude and prompt service.’

‘David Hinchliffe, who heads the team, is one of the foremost lawyers in the country dealing with the sales and purchases of football clubs. He understands the market and he finds commercial solutions to deliver the client’s wishes.’

‘Walker Morris has commanding in-depth knowledge of the football industry. They are without doubt market leaders.’

‘Alistair McHenry is an outstanding practitioner. His knowledge of football coupled with his unerring sense of the appropriate tactical decision make him a formidable litigator.’

‘David Hinchliffe is recognised as a leader in his field. He knows all that there is to know about football – as well as knowing all the individuals there are to know. David is a go-to football solicitor.’

Key clients

Swansea City FC

Fulham FC

Burnley FC

Crystal Palace FC

AFC Bournemouth

Reading FC

Sunderland AFC

Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Nottingham Forest FC

Scunthorpe United FC

Sheffield United FC

Work highlights

  • Instructed by administrators Begbies to appeal to the EFL Arbitration Panel against the sporting sanction (a deduction of 12 points) imposed by the EFL on Wigan Athletic as a result of the club entering into administration.
  • Acted for South Shields FC in its FA Rule K arbitration proceedings against The Football Association in respect of the FA’s decision to curtail the 2019-20 non-league football season in March 2019 for all leagues from step 3 down and expunge that season’s results as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Acted as lead sell side advisers on the sale of 83.97% of the shares in the holding company of Burnley Football & Athletic Company Limited (the entity holding a share in the Premier League) to a consortium put together by ALK Capital, LLC.

Clarion

The sports team at Clarion handles a range of corporate and dispute resolution matters for high-end sportswear brands and clubs. Led by Richard Moran in Leeds, the practice is able to leverage its strengths across banking and real estate law to handle acquisitions and leasing arrangements. Other key names include Eve Gregory and Charlie Smith.

Practice head(s):

Richard Moran

Other key lawyers:

Eve Gregory; Charlie Smith

Pinsent Masons LLP

At Pinsent Masons LLP, the multidisciplinary sports practice is skilled in advising leading sporting clients across corporate and dispute resolution mandates. Overseen by national head Trevor Watkins, the team handles a range of complex financing mandates and acquisitions of Premier League clubs. In Leeds, the practice is jointly led by Matthew Claydon-Stead and employment lawyer Joe McMorrow, who are the key names acting for national and world governing bodies, sports industry conglomerates and global events on high-value transactions and regulatory work. Associate Ben Proctor is experienced in corporate M&A.

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

Yorkshire 2019 Limited

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

Work highlights

  • Instructed by English Football League (EFL) to carry out independent investigations into various Football League clubs following alleged and potential breaches of the CV-19 Protocols in relation to Return to Training and Return to Play.
  • Instructed by UK Sport on the Employment Appeals Tribunal claim being brought by former British Olympian, Jessica Varnish.
  • Provided specific training to senior managers within World Athletics on general health and safety obligations.