Mark Hovell > Mills & Reeve LLP > Manchester, England > Lawyer Profile

Mills & Reeve LLP
No.1 Circle Square
3 Symphony Park
M1 7FS

Work Department



Mark’s role as an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the last couple of decades has seen him involved in some high-profile cases, including his appointment to the 2016 Olympic ad hoc Division in Rio. He has now been involved in over 300 arbitrations. Mark was also re-appointed as an arbitrator on the Sport Resolutions Panel (Chairpersons List) in 2021 and is also a member of the National Anti-doping Panel. Mark continues to advise various sports union organisations including The Professional Footballers’ Association, The PGA and The Professional Players Federation. Mark has also represented a number of clubs, leagues and Governing bodies. He represents a number of high-profile sport and entertainment clients in negotiations relating to their image rights and marketability. Mark is a qualified insolvency practitioner and has been involved in over 60 formal and informal professional football, rugby and rugby league club insolvencies, including Portsmouth FC in 2010 and 2012. Mark was awarded the title Partner of the Year at the 2013 Manchester Legal Awards and received a special recognition award at the 2013 NW Football Awards. More recently he was the WWL International Sports lawyer of the Year in 2020. He is a lecturer/visiting professor on Sports Law and finance at numerous Universities and colleges around the world.


Trained George Davies Solicitors LLP; qualified 1993; former head of corporate George Davies Solicitors LLP; licensed insolvency practitioner since 1999; arbitrator Court of Arbitration for Sport since 2002; managing partner George Davies Solicitors LLP 2007-13; Head of Sports at M&R since 2013; chair of Sports Industry Group (Pro Manchester) since 2013. Current directorships: Pro Manchester; the Manchester Football Association; the James Milner Foundation; The Factory Youth Zone.


R3 (fellow); ICArb; RexSport.


Hymers College, Hull; UMIST (1989 2(1) (Hons) Management Sciences); MMU (1991 CPE and LSF); BPP (1999 Insolvency Practitioner Finals).


Running, football, golf and parenting.

Lawyer Rankings

North West > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Sport

(Leading individuals)

Mark HovellMills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP provides advice to high-profile clubs, individuals, and organisations throughout the sports industry. Whilst the practice is recognised for its work in arbitration and litigation, the team also handles a wide range of matters concerning commercial rights, football transfers and regulatory issues. Practice head Mark Hovell supports a prestigious line-up of clients, including the PFA, across a range of matters. Co-head Carol Couse has extensive experience in football and advises clients on disciplinary proceedings and regulatory matters. Senior associate Sarah Whyman specialises in commercial contracts and data protection laws within sport. Other key names include Phil Hutchinson , who splits his time between the Manchester and Birmingham offices.

London > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Sport

(Leading individuals)

Mark HovellMills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP‘s team ‘have an in-depth knowledge of the sports sector and a reputation for quality’ – the practice advises on arbitration and litigation, commercial rights, acting for a client base which includes several high-profile football players and domestic governing bodies. Practice head Mark Hovell fronts the team alongside Carol Couse, with latter specialising in the football industry, including handling transfers, playing contracts and disciplinary issues. The duo split their time between Manchester and London, while Richard Santy, who also works from the firm’s Birmingham base, deals with employment issues within the sports sector. London practice head Julian Moore is recommended for his work in relation to sports media, sponsorship and image rights deals, often collaborating with Australian-qualified principal associate Tiran Gunawardena. Fellow prinicipal associate Phil Hutchinson, who splits his time between Birmingham and Manchester, has developed a niche advising on international player transfers for professional football clubs and agents.