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 > Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery

The litigation-focused insolvency practice at Mills & Reeve LLP is led by London-based national insolvency head Neil Smyth, who is experienced in both advising companies in administration and preventing them from it. It advises such key clients as the Insolvency Service and the national Official Receiver from the Manchester office, where the key names to note in the team are Richard Dawson-Gerrard who manages these relationships, and disputes and insolvency-focused ‘standout’ senior associate Jacob Walker. Additionally, Mark Hovell is notable for his niche specialism in sports-related insolvency matters.

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

(Leading individuals)

Mark HovellMills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP is known representing top footballers, with standout clients including Kevin De Bruyne, Leah Williamson and Kieran Trippier. The firm assists in managing investments and sponsorship deals for these players. The practice also has a broader range of expertise across sports including horse racing, Rugby League and cycling; assisting with transfers of commercial rights, facility redevelopments, disputes and more. The team is jointly led by the ‘innovative and committedCarol Couse, a sports specialist commercial ADR expert, and Mark Hovell, an experienced arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Sarah Whyman, a sports data protection expert, and experienced employment lawyer Richard Barker are also integral. Associate Rustam Sethna is ‘extremely hard-working‘ and stands out for his expertise in cross-border sports litigation in areas ranging from football to sailing.

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

(Leading individuals)

Mark HovellMills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP advises an array of sports sector clients – namely across football, sailing, boxing, golf, sports tech and eSports – on regulatory and commercial mandates. Football expert and co-head of the team Carol Couse assists footballers with personal endorsements, private client matters and investments. She also supports football clubs on player and coach transfers and hires. Julian Moore frequently works on sponsorship agreements, while team co-head Mark Hovell is noted for his experience as a president of CAS panels in important boxing decisions. Phil Hutchinson is recommended for his expertise in anti-doping rules. Richard Santy is also recommended.