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Service overview

Our sports lawyers provide comprehensive legal services for professional athletes and owners, managers and prospective buyers of sports institutions, venues, teams and clubs.

Most typically this involves advising on a mixture of employment (player contracts, transfers, disciplinary), commercial (sponsorship agreements, advertising, supplier contracts), immigration (relocation of players and their families), real estate (sale, purchase and leasing of property), intellectual property (brand protection, image rights, trade marks), corporate (acquisition and disposal of clubs, finance) and family (prenups, relationship breakdowns) law matters, according to your specific requirements.

We explain all legal documents, processes and options available to you in straightforward language so that you can provide us with informed instructions. Our focus is then on executing them to best effect, in coordination with your wider advisory team, and securing your rights without losing sight of commerciality.

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Service highlights

We act for buyers and sellers of sports clubs with entire sale and purchase process, from heads of terms and due diligence through to negotiating and executing the transaction itself, as well as any change of control and fit and proper process with the governing body. We advise and help you make fully informed decisions at each step, drawing in expertise from our corporate, employment, real estate, IP, tax and other teams as needed.
We provide full legal support and representation for sports people in all manner of commercial agreements (such as brand ambassador agreements and commercialising image rights), dealings and disputes with clubs and agents (including disciplinaries and investigations), and personal affairs (most commonly, relating to real estate, family law, tax and immigration). We have particular experience working closely with sports people involved in football, rugby and Formula 1.
We advise on, negotiate and prepare contracts covering all types of working arrangements at all levels of team hierarchy, from board and management to coaching, playing and other staff. We also assist in relation to disciplinary procedures, enforcement of restrictive covenants, breaches of contract, dismissals and liability for unfair and wrongful dismissal. We prepare settlements agreements and, in the event of any claims, provide effective representation in the employment tribunal, at court and in arbitration proceedings.
We help you to negotiate and agree terms for kit sponsorship deals and stadium naming rights, and record them in written agreements. We ensure the legal paperwork fully reflects your commercial expectation of the arrangements, including with regard to duration, payments (basic and any bonus payments triggered by achievement of any objectives), and each party’s rights and obligations.
We undertake the registration of UK and European trade marks and, through our worldwide connections and the wider Burlingtons Group, assist in registrations throughout the rest of the world.
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