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David Winnie

Partner, Head of Sports  London Office

Background & experience

David's practice spans a wide range of transactional and regulatory areas of sports law. 

David specialises in commercial and regulatory advice to clients in the sports and media sectors. His experience includes acting for athletes and rights holders on sponsorship matters. He also regularly advises on governance issues in sport and on player contracts, football transfers and image rights structures.

David has acted for clients in cases before the Football Association's (FA) Rule K Arbitration, the EFL Compensation Committee, FIFA's Football Tribunal and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

Prior to his career in law, David was a professional football player and coach at the highest levels. He played in Champions League, UEFA Cup and ECWC competitions and won the Scottish FA Cup as a player. David also represented his country at U21 level.

As a lawyer, he has acted on behalf of clients in some of the most significant cases in world football. Most recently, acting for a client before FIFA’s Football Tribunal concerning the application of FIFA's policy in respect of Covid-19, and the interaction of that policy with Force Majeure provisions in football contracts. 

David is also a member of the FA and Scottish Football Association's Judicial Panels, and sits as a Chair on the FA's Appeals Panel and Claims Panel. He regularly hears cases involving leading players and clubs from the Premier League through to the Women's Super League. 

David also provides immigration advice and assistance to UK companies, individuals and sporting organisations seeking to obtain a Sponsor Licence or when looking to recruit skilled migrant workers or sporting individuals.


David has worked on the following cases:

  • The Players’ Status Chamber of FIFA’s Football Tribunal - Rene Hiddink v Football Association of Maldives (FAM). Acting for the Claimant in his successful claim against FAM. This decision was important throughout football in its restatement and application of FIFA’s policy in respect of Covid-19, and the interaction of that policy with force majeure provisions in football contracts. The full judgement can be read here:
  • The Players’ Status Chamber of FIFA’s Football Tribunal – Martin Koopman v Football Association of Maldives. Acting for the Claimant in his successful claim against FAM for termination of his employment as Head Coach of the Maldives Men’s National Football team without Just Cause. The full judgement can be read here:
  • The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne - CAS 2012/A/2910 Club Eskisehirspor v. Kris Boyd. Acting for the Defendant in successfully resisting an appeal brought against him by his former club following a successful first instance claim by Mr. Boyd before FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber in the sum of c. £3 million. The Appeal decision can be read here:  
  • Advising and assisting a Premier League club before a Premier League Tribunal on the compensation payable in the sum of c. £6.5 million for a young England international player.
  • Representing an EFL club in a dispute regarding an academy player seeking to terminate his registration and move to a Premier League club. The matter was heard before the Football League Player Related Dispute Commission in first instance and thereafter the League Appeal Committee. The EFL changed its rules concerning youth players and costs in legal proceedings as a result of this case.
  • Advising a Premier League club in relation to a total disability claim with insurers concerning an international player.
  • Advising and assisting a high profile La Liga player on his employment contract and image rights agreement following his move to a Chinese football club worth in excess of €11 million.
  • Advising an EFL club on the proposed sale and purchase of the club by an investor from Asia.
  • Successfully representing prominent intermediaries, players and clubs before the Football Association Rule K arbitrations, EFL Commissions, FIFA and CAS. 

In the press

David is regularly asked to provide legal opinion and analysis on leading national and international media:

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