We act for a range of sporting governing bodies (NGBs), clubs and individual sports athletes on a wide range of legal matters including constitutional and regulatory matters, commercial contracts, licensing and merchandising agreements, sponsorship agreements, rights management and exploitation. We regularly appear on behalf of sporting bodies and individuals before sports regulatory bodies, sports tribunals, Sport Resolutions and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Our sports lawyers advise on:

  • constitutional documentation, rules or regulations
  • commercial contracts and agreements relating to media and image rights, marketing, sponsorship and merchandising
  • event management including bidding and staging events, ticketing and licensing venues
  • brand rights and management of clubs, players and events
  • commercial property transactions
  • employment law
  • disciplinary proceedings before Sport Resolutions, International Federations and the Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • child protection issues
  • anti-doping issues
  • challenges to the actions of NGBs, including selection decisions
  • disputes with third parties including contractual disputes

We advise sports athletes on:

  • WADA Code and anti-doping rules and regulations
  • rules, regulations and disciplinary matters
  • challenges to NGB decisions including selection
  • national and IPC Classification disputes or appeals
  • player, sponsorship and endorsement contracts
  • contractual disputes

We have recently been appointed by the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Difficulty (UKSA) in relation to its application to the LPF pro bono fund for constitutional/governance work.

Data protection in sport

There are 20 million reasons why we need to work collaboratively in sharing data protection best practice across the sport sector; the sectors members. Timing and action is now paramount to ensure the Sporting community are supported to meet the challenges of the Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act) now as much to meet the future challenges in relation to the new EU General Data Protection Regulation.

In 2014/15, 15.74 million adults took part in some form of sporting activity.  The sector as a whole process a volume of members’ (adults and young people) personal and sensitive person data, this also extends to the engagement and use of  Volunteers, Judges, and Officials affiliating and supporting the Sporting sector. We also have national as much as local Associations, Federations and clubs across the United Kingdom.

This is an important compliance area. A recent poll of over 2,000 people showed 78% found keeping their data secure was most important.  80% said it was very important to them that their data was not shared incorrectly and 67% said it was very important that they were given access to their data. One of these people could have been your customer or employee.

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) states organisations will need to report serious breaches within 72 hours, fines will increase up to 4% of global turnover, or €100 million, or up to 2% of the data controllers’ annual worldwide turnover, whichever is greater.  There is also the requirement on some organisations to have a designated Data Protection Officer who is knowledgeable, skilled and confident to ensure compliance controls, training, data processing and sharing is fully working within the law.  These changes bring about never seen before burdens on Boards and Chief Executives.

Our experience

  • Appointed to the Sports Advocacy Section of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Pro Bono Legal Advice and Representation Service
  • Regularly appear before Disciplinary and Appeal Panels in respect of various regulatory disputes including Sport Resolutions and the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Advised on a number of selection disputes

  • Reported cases: Arbitration CAS 2010/A/2058 British Equestrian Federation (BEF) v. Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), award of 13 July 2010
  • Reported cases: CAS 2012/A/2845 Alexander Peternell v. South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) & South African Equestrian Federation (SAEF)