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.

Sharing data protection best practice

Sports Data Action Network

The Data Action Network (or DAN for short) is a forum which brings together sport sector professionals with responsibility for data protection and information governance within their organisations.  Alongside an online portal and regular networking meetings and webinars, DAN gives members an opportunity to share insight and know-how in relation to data protection and information governance. 

Membership can range from member bodies to local member groups, clubs to event organisers.

Each Data Action Network comprises of a minimum of 12 members.

Benefits of joining Data Action Network

Why join DAN?

We will advise you on how to share data safely.  This is extremely important for organisations within the sport sector as you deal with personal and sensitive data, including children’s’ data.  We will also guide you on how to help your teams understand their role when outsourcing data (such as to a payroll, document scanning company and shredding company) to a data processors and agencies (Information Sharing Protocol).

What are the benefits of joining DAN?

Ensuring you can grow your business and keep a handle on governance and regulatory requirements in the sector you work in is a challenge for any CEO, Director, Board, Chair or Trustee. Put Data Protection and Security in the ‘ring’ and you have some hard decisions to make. As a Sport Sector provider you may be engaged to carry out functions on behalf of your Member bodies and members themselves.  As a result you need to understand what role you play and what you are accountable for as a Data Controller / Data Processor. You need to understand your role in the current Data Protection Act 1998 and what your role and accountabilities will be in the new Data Protection Law (EU General Data Protection Regulation), which will be in force as of 25 May 2018.

We are the go to advisor because of our knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to continue and help people achieve their goals. We want you to be part of our DAN, Training Academy and case management support services as people and information are organisations biggest assets, and one as a sector you cannot afford to get wrong. 

Our Data Protection and Privacy team are experts who have worked as professionals for over 20 years, plus legal advisors to help you find solutions and litigators who can advise you on how to prevent and mitigate the risk of non-compliance. 

In addition to this, please see the ‘What are the benefits in joining’ section in the Data Action Network Page

How much does it cost?

We offer competitive membership fees and membership includes access to the secure portal and attendance at four training workshops.

You will have access to four half day workshops every three months and take part in webinar workshops as part of your membership. You will also have access to our online community sport DAN portal where you can all network, share and exchange challenges, best practice and pose general questions to the group. You will receive as part of your membership a set of policies, procedures and guidance notes on the current Data Protection Law and discussion papers and briefing notes on the EU General Data Protection Regulation. You can also access our training, case management and advisor service at discounted rates and bolt on extras to your members as the EU General Data Protection Regulation develops.

Future Data Action Network meetings

We will be hosting a series of Round Table Events for the sport sector. Please see our events for the latest workshops. We are aiming to hold our set of next membership based DAN workshops from September 2016.

The topics members are asking us for in the sessions are:

  1. The role, duty and accountability your organisation may hold as a processor or controller;
  2. Data Sharing and Records Management;
  3. What does the General Data Protection Regulation mean to SMEs;
  4. Surgery session talking through key themes and challenges;
  5. Regulator Presentation and Q&As;
  6. What does a Governance Library need to look like in the future;
  7. The role of the Data Protection Officer now and in the future; and
  8. Safeguarding and Data Protection.

We have a list of guest speakers on Data Sharing, Risk Management, Cyber Security, PCI, Big Data, Time Management, Marketing, Outsourcing, Breach Detection, Management and Safeguarding etc, all of whom are eager to support DAN members.

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)


Chambers UK 2015

"They are very responsive to our needs and have a no-nonsense approach to their advice. Guidance is always very sensible and easy to understand."  Work highlights Advising British Dressage on all disciplinary and regulatory matters, and on its potential con. version to charitable status. Richard Lane is head of the firm's equestrian department and a key contact."

Legal 500 UK 2015

"Clients enthuse that the team at Wright Hassall LLP gives ‘prompt, relevant, focused, in depth advice’. The practice acts for several national sports governing bodies. Advocate Laura Heeley is ‘knowledgeable and approachable, with a calm, professional attitude that instils confidence’. Richard Lane is ‘an outstanding sports law specialist" 

Knowledge & insight

Legal Articles

Sports selection: getting it right

As the excitement and pressure builds toward the staging of the 2016 Olympics, sports governing bodies must ensure that their selection decisions can withstand scrutiny if they are challenged.

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