Our sports law team has a long history of supporting some of the UK’s leading governing bodies, clubs and players on the most high profile, strategic and complex matters in sport. The team comprises leading lawyers with relevant expertise drawn from across the firm, from contract, employment and regulatory experts to litigators and trademark specialists. This expertise is combined with the team’s genuine passion and keen interest in the sports sector.

The sports sector is a major growth market. Over the last 15 years, sports and sporting events have become increasingly sophisticated and more commercially valuable. This brings huge opportunities, but also challenges for our clients. Sport is now a key public policy driver and subject to heightened regulatory and legislative intervention.

We understand the unique challenges that sporting organisations face and are supporting clients with all aspects of broadcasting, sponsorship, marketing and venues, as well as advising on high-profile disputes and sports-specific regulatory issues. Through our Sport Law Forum, a regular roundtable discussion attended by leading figures in the industry, we have a deep understanding of the issues that matter to our clients and tailor our advice accordingly. We work in genuine partnership with our clients, building long-term trusted adviser relationships with them to best understand their objectives and help them achieve their goals.

Our specialisms

Events and commercial contracts
  • Broadcasting agreements
  • Sponsorship/ endorsement/ strategic partnerships 
  • Marketing and PR
  • Ticketing 
  • Events services
  • Stadium/venue projects/construction
Regulation and governance
  • Doping
  • Safeguarding requirements
  • Investigating alleged rule breaches on behalf of governing bodies
  • Representing players, officials, clubs and affiliated organisations in disciplinary proceedings before governing bodies
  • Advertising compliance 
  • Governance structure 
  • Codes of conduct and policies 
Employment and equality law matters
  • Equality considerations for sports associations and governing bodies 
  • Discrimination disputes 
  • Immigration and the impact of Brexit on sportspersons’ migration/travel  
  • Player contracts and employment terms 
  • Policy development 
Competition and regulatory advice
  • Market impact of sporting rules and regulations
Sports disputes
  • Strategic dispute management advice
  • Representing clients in sport arbitration proceedings
  • Litigation and dispute resolution
Corporate mergers
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Financing
Intellectual property and data protection
  • Trade mark and brand protection
  • Commercialising image rights
  • Preparing data protection policies and compliance advice
  • Data breach investigation, reporting and management of claims
Real Estate
  • Acquisition, funding, re-development, planning and construction
  • Option contracts
  • Strategies for and the disposal of surplus assets
  • Leasing and occupational arrangements for a range of one-off events and longer-term arrangements

Experience

Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL)
Successfully representing the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) in the high-profile unfair prejudice petition and subsequent arbitration brought by Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle following the decision to end the 2019/20 season due to the impact of COVID-19.
The R&A
Advising The R&A, the world governing body for golf outside the United States and Mexico, in relation to the legal and commercial issues arising from the cancellation of The Open in 2020, which was due to be held at Royal St George’s, as a result of UK COVID-19 restrictions.
Scottish Rugby
Working with Scottish Rugby in connection with the preparation, publication and communication of the Gammell-Murray Report following the independent corporate governance and business review of the Scottish Rugby Union.
Representing the former football agent of a celebrated international footballer claiming damages for the termination of the agency agreement in an FA Rules arbitration. The dispute focused on governing law, the conduct of the agent in negotiating a transfer and the value of the agency agreement at its termination. We secured litigation funding for the client and successfully negotiated a settlement.
P+J Live
Advising The Event Complex Aberdeen (now P+J Live), a new £333 million complex, in relation to applications for a premises licence (liquor), a theatre licence, and a market operator’s licence.
The R&A
Supporting The R&A on the implementation, administration and governance of the Word Handicap System (WHS) in collaboration with the USGA.