We understand what it takes to make it in the world of professional sports — legal disputes are a distraction you don’t need.
We’ve advised on sports law for more than 30 years and we’ve built close relations with those involved in professional sports. We’re there supporting and advising clubs, players, managers, agents and associations, dealing with all manner of legal issues and disputes.
You keep your focus on your game.
How we can help
We advise on all types of legal issues affecting professional sports today.
Reputation Management & Defamation
Don’t take a chance with your reputation if you’re the victim of a defamatory post on social media; if you are the subject of a damaging story in the papers; if your club is the subject of unwarranted claims about finance or transfers.
We are highly experienced defamation lawyers and reputation management experts. We secure the removal of online content.
We have obtained injunctions to prevent publication of private matters for several UK and foreign footballers. We obtained one urgent privacy injunction at the High Court one evening against The Sun whilst the player was actually on the pitch!
We have acted to prevent the sale of private information for players – resulting on one occasion in a prison sentence for the culprit who sought to blackmail our client.
Disclosure and Spartacus Orders
Our lawyers recently acted for a Premiership Club to obtain an Order from the Court forcing a major telecommunications organisation to reveal to us the details relating to the sending of confidential emails. We obtained full particulars of the address from which the emails were sent. Such orders are becoming common in relation to invasions of privacy.
Sports Contracts & Commercial Agreements
We have successfully represented a National Football Association in a dispute with a Club within its jurisdiction regarding an affiliation issue which resulted in a sanction for the Club.
We have acted for Premiership Clubs in connection with disciplinary action taken against players relating to issues on and off the field. We have also substantial experience advising on FA Rule K Arbitrations.
False Endorsement / Intellectual Property issues
The commercial side of professional sports demands proper handling. Particularly where a player/athlete has existing sponsorship and endorsement contracts with exclusivity provisions, issues regarding improper use of image can have significant business implications.
We are experienced advisers to sportspeople whose images have been used without licence, successfully achieving the remedies sought by our client including damages.
We have also negotiated endorsement agreements with household name brands on behalf of sports players, to maximise commercial interests.
Football Transfers and Registrations
As an FA Registered Football Agent, Mark Manley advises players and clubs at short notice on transfers and player registrations.
We have also been involved in the negotiation of transfers of foreign players to UK clubs and have advised on contractual issues connected with those deals.
We have a close relationship with one of the UK’s leading image right experts who is able to provide all necessary advice regarding the tax and other benefits of the establishment of an image rights company.
We have also acted for footballers in professional negligence actions against solicitors who have failed to properly handle football transactions.
A testimonial year requires significant planning, organisation and legal advice relating to the charitable implications, status and requirements of the testimonial, taxation implications, commercial negotiation and event management.
Mark Manley has been appointed to several Testimonial Committees, including Dave Watson (Everton FC), Ronnie Moran (Liverpool FC) and Jamie Carragher (Liverpool FC).
We routinely obtain and fight injunction applications on behalf of footballers, clubs and other sports professionals. We provide initial advice on the immediate threat and obtained injunctions for Premiership to prevent publication of private information – typically at very short notice.