Our highly specialised team deals with all facets of sports law, delivering high quality advice with the swiftness necessary given the tight time frames encountered in the sports sector. We have particular strength in advising in relation to sports insolvencies, most notably those of football clubs and motorsport teams. This has earned us instructions from major sports bodies, sponsors, individual players, government departments and financiers.
  • Profile
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  • Key contacts

The multi-disciplinary element of our practice means our team comprises specialist lawyers spanning the range of practice areas and locations in which we operate. This makes us unique as our team have not only immense experience in their field, but experience in a sporting context. Our team brings together specialists in:

  • commercial agreements
  • competition
  • construction – planning, financing and construction of venues and surrounding infrastructure
  • corporate – M&A, joint ventures and private equity investments
  • employment
  • dispute resolution
  • finance
  • IP – image protection and trade marks
  • insolvency and restructuring
  • licensing
  • real estate – planning and environment law
  • public administrative law.

While the cornerstones of our growing practice are football and motorsports, our expertise spans the full gamut of sports, from equestrianism to mixed martial arts, and sports related legal issues, such as:

  • club acquisitions/disposals
  • player contracts
  • stadium construction
  • financing arrangements
  • franchising, branding and sponsorship agreements and disputes relating to these
  • acting as judicial officers of, and legal advisers to, national and international governing bodies.

Members of our team are also involved in acting as legal advisers to national and international governing bodies in respect of a range of sports.  

Having advised numerous clients in relation to sports-related matters for over a decade, our experts can provide assistance on any legal issue within a sporting context.

"Stephenson Harwood's sports group have great attention to detail and provide an excellent service."
Legal 500 UK 2020

Formula One Promoters

Advising various potential promotors of a Formula One Grand Prixs (including a potential promotor of the Korean Grand Prix and the government of a country which wished to host a Grand Prix) in negotiations with Formula One, including as to the terms of contractual documentation to be put in place relating to the hosting of the event and promotional and television rights.

Heads of the Valleys Development Company

Advising on a major PPP scheme to build a world class motorsports complex in South Wales, comprising a motor sport circuit and related commercial and leisure facilities. The project is the most significant capital investment programme in automotive infrastructure in the UK for 50 years.

Circuit of Wales Limited

Advising on, amongst other things, negotiations: with Dorna Sports S.L for the right to host the British round of MotoGP; to host the British round of the 2016 MotoGP at Silverstone; and with the Extreme Sports Company.

Rangers Football Club

Advising the liquidators in relation to all aspects of the liquidation of the most successful domestic football club in the world, including high-profile and high-value litigation in England and Scotland.

Allegations of impropriety in a sporting event

Advising in relation to allegations of a commercial organisation's involvement in impropriety in relation to the bidding for a major sporting event.

Asset management

Advising on the risks in entering into a loan agreement with a former Premier League football club to be secured by, amongst other things, an assignment of a future right to receive parachute payments from the Premier League.

Stella International Holdings

Advising Stella International Holdings, a luxury footwear designer and manufacturer for the likes of Nike, The North Face and Merrell, on its establishment of a new factory in Bataan, Philippines and market entry into Myanmar and Indonesia.

Athletes USA Limited

Advising on a dispute arising out of alleged breaches of franchise agreements for the placement of students from around the world in U.S. colleges through sports scholarships.

Mixed Martial Arts Promoter

Advising a US company in developing martial arts shows in the Asian market.

Sports betting

Advising an online sports betting brokerage on an international request to provide evidence in an investigation into a criminal gang engaged in football match fixing and online gambling.

Personality rights dispute 

Advising a premier league footballer in respect of a possible breach of his personality rights under Hong Kong law.

Latest news & insights

30 Aug 2019

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises on restructuring of Bolton Wanderers FC

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised on the sale of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, on behalf of its joint administrators Paul Appleton and Asher Miller of Davi..


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