2018 Year in Review
We hope our readers had a good Christmas and New Year.
For our first blog post of 2019, we wanted to take a quick look back at the highlights of 2018 - a busy and eventful year for the team!
London: we were delighted to welcome Julian Moore as the head of the London sports team. Julian joined Tiran Gunawardena, Laura Canham and Nick Cusack in our London team. Since Julian’s arrival, the team has advised a wide range of new sports clients, including amongst others, Luton Town, an international footballer on an anti-doping charge and the international sports marketing agencies Infront Sports & Media, Sports Revolution and M-League Marketing.
Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS): 2018 was a particularly busy year for Mark Hovell (CAS arbitrator and Head of Sports at Mills & Reeve) at the CAS, as he was appointed on a record (for him!) 38 cases involving complex international legal disputes in football, anti-doping, athletics, ethics, match-fixing, boxing and even chess. Notably, Mark was on the panel which heard AC Milan’s high profile dispute involving UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.
Disputes: 2018 was an exceptionally busy year for us in relation to sports disputes. We acted for numerous domestic and international players, clubs and federations on matters heard at the High Court, The FA, UEFA, FIFA and the CAS. These matters involved a variety of legal issues including breach of contract (including the ongoing commercial court litigation between Rangers FC and its retailer partner Sports Direct), intermediaries’ regulations, betting, match fixing, anti-doping, on- field UEFA disciplinary charges, managers’ disputes (including acting for a former Premier League manager who successfully recovered substantial damages in FA arbitration proceedings against his former club), and commercial sponsorships.
England Golf: we advise England Golf on all legal matters and work very closely with their in-house legal team. Last year, not only did we work on a number of confidential HR matters, but we also produced guidance notes on Equality and GDPR. We also operate a helpline which enables all 1,900 affiliated Golf Clubs to be able to call us for up to an hours’ free legal advice. The Helpline is paid for by England Golf and has provided us with a very wide variety of work.
Women’s sport: we advised England’s netball players on some of their recent negotiations with England Netball. Mark represented the PFA and the Lionesses with the negotiations of the latest Central Contract with The FA, while Tiran assisted various Lionesses players in disputes with their clubs in England, Australia and the United States. Additionally, Carol Couse is a co-founding member of an international non-profit organisation based in Switzerland called Women in Sports Law, which provides opportunities, a platform for knowledge sharing and networking for women with a demonstrated interest in sports law.
Rugby: in Rugby League, we worked with the Super League clubs and the league itself in the process of taking a transfer of the running of the competition from the RFL and, switching Codes, in Rugby Union, we carried out our first assignment for the RPA.
Saudi Arabian sport: we helped advised the Saudi Professional League (SPL) in reviewing and re-drafting its Financial Fair Play regulations. In addition, we will deliver guidance and assistance workshops to SPL clubs in the future. We were also appointed to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) legal panel, to assist all Saudi professional clubs in international sports law matters.
British Cycling: we assisted British Cycling in re-drafting its Disciplinary Rules and Regulations.
Recognition/awards: we were proud that many of our sports team members were recognised in various legal directories, including Who’s Who Legal, Legal 500 and Chambers.
Publications: our lawyers were quoted in and/or wrote numerous journal articles (including in ESPN, LawInSport, Football Legal, Sport Business, TV Sports Markets and World Sports Advocate) on sports law topics including FIFA’s landmark reforms to the transfer system, unilateral extension options, using intellectual property rights to protect a new sports format, and Brexit.
We also hope you enjoyed reading our blog posts and Reevaldo posts, and we look forward to sharing more of our insights and opinions on sports law issues with you in 2019.
Lastly, best wishes to all our readers for a prosperous 2019.