The laws that govern sport are complex and constantly developing.
Indeed, the belief that there is something specific about sport that leads to different solutions to legal problems is potentially dangerous. In reality the various branches of the law apply in generally the same way to sport as they apply to every other legal sector.
As ever, clients assume legal expertise; what they are really looking for is industry knowledge as well; for it is only by uniting these that lawyers can add value that clients need in a sector that is challenged financially.
We offer a comprehensive range of advice covering the entire range of legal issues affecting our clients in the sporting sector. From governing bodies to leading players and their agents, our clients can look to us for pragmatic and commercial advice, tailored to meet their legal needs.
We advise on a wide range of commercial matters including sports financing and the negotiation and drafting of contracts for broadcasting and digital rights, venue, ticketing, sponsorship, marketing and advertising, merchandising and agency arrangements. In this fast growing and specialist area we have the experience, the expertise and the sector knowledge to provide real added value for our clients.
Competition & EU law
Governing bodies (and leagues) can monopolise access to commercial markets. This leaves them vulnerable to fundamental attack. We can advise both on resisting such attacks and on making them.
We are involved in the formation and regulation of governing and other sports bodies, including legal framework, revisions to existing constitutions, procedures and selection policies and codes of conduct.
Sports related acquisitions can bring with them their own particular problems. For example they may require a detailed understanding of intellectual property rights or of image rights or a specialist knowledge of how the relevant governing body regulates the sport. We have this specialist knowledge and experience and this is complemented by the corporate and taxation skills and experience of our corporate department generally.
Disciplinary matters, disputes and crisis management
Careful attention to procedural detail is vital here and we draft procedures for disciplinary processes for governing bodies.
All aspects are covered, including defamation, privacy, injunctions, breach of confidence, harassment and data protection. Urgent advice can also be provided in relation to crisis management issues.
Sport can be a very contentious arena and disputes are legion. However only in extreme cases is litigation justified as the parties in a given sport have long term relationships which means that legal “victories” can prove valueless in the medium term. Where litigation is unavoidable we pursue it vigorously; however we are alive to possibilities afforded by other forms of dispute resolution having regard to the particular nature of the sector.
Intellectual property underpins most aspects of the sporting industry and is one of the most valuable assets that can be owned, acquired or licensed. We help protect and exploit this valuable commodity in all its forms. We advise on a full range of IP issues, including brand management and the protection of image rights, trade marks and designs. We provide help with domain name and internet-related issues. We also assist with product endorsement, advertising and licensing. We appreciate the importance of IP protection and can act promptly and effectively to safeguard these interests and help manage and exploit IP rights.
Venues and stadia
We can assist with all property negotiations and transactions, including sales and purchases, leases and property financing in relation to all manner of sporting venues.
Talent & Player contracts
All aspects are covered including contracts, benefits and compensation. We can also advise on commercial agreements to help an individual player capitalise on his/her image and reputation.
With a number of prestigious charity clients, we are also acknowledged experts in the field of charity law and can assist with the formation and operation of sports charities.
If you require any further information about the services offered by the Sports team, or wish to make a specific enquiry, please contact Stephen Hornsby by email or call 0207 404 0606.