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Specialist solicitors for the sports sector

From sports employment disputes and disciplinary matters to stadia construction projects, we can provide you and your business with pro-active, sharp and cost-effective advice for all your legal issues.

Clarke Willmott has more than 25 years of experience working with sports clients and our reputation within the marketplace is reflected by the calibre of the individuals and organisations we work with. We frequently advise some of the biggest names in professional sport on English law and our clients include professional sports clubs, leading professional players and sports celebrities, elite athletes, national governing bodies, international sports agencies, and leading global brands.

Our sports sector team is a leading sports law practice in the United Kingdom and is ranked as a top tier team in The Legal 500 legal directory.

Why the sports sector chooses Clarke Willmott

Professional sport is an international business, with transactions often involving acute timeframes. We provide practical, commercial solutions and offer extremely high levels of service, allowing issues to be resolved as quickly as possible.

Our team is responsive and committed to long term relationships. We want to know what’s important to you so we can help you achieve your aspirations.

Many of our solicitors play sport and/or have a sporting background. We talk your language, understand your goals, and the special considerations needed when you operate in the business of professional sport.

Whilst we’re diligent, knowledgeable, and technically capable, we frequently receive feedback from clients that our sport solicitors “are not like other lawyers”. The team prides themselves on being able to deliver cutting-edge legal advice on very high-profile matters whilst advising you in an accessible, user-friendly, and clear manner on your options.

25 years in sport – some of our highlights

How we can help you

Examples of our specialist work within the sports sector and how we can help you include:

  • Corporate law advice on sports company mergers and acquisitions, advising on club constitutional issues, shareholder and loan financing agreements
  • Drafting and negotiating elite manager and club executive agreements, including leading football manager contracts, Director of Rugby, and Director of Cricket employment contracts
  • Advising on settlement agreement negotiations and the terminations of professional player contracts for Premier League and Championship footballers and Premiership rugby players
  • Advising on National Governing Body investigations, regarding concerns of discrimination (for example on the grounds of race or sex), match-fixing, anti-corruption, and whistleblowing
  • Advising on large scale sports sector construction projects, including stadium developments, training ground redevelopments, and sport venue property and infrastructure legal issues
  • Commercial property, including disputes, land swap for golf clubs, acquisition and disposal of stadium grounds, energy saving developments and property management
  • Advising international sports agencies and player management companies on commercial, employment law, and regulatory sports law issues and disputes
  • Advising on medical negligence within professional sport, serious injury compensation claims, and incapacity terminations
  • Commercial advice on sponsorship agreements, licences, sports events, data protection compliance, and legal issues arising through sport marketing and brand experience activation projects
  • Helping professional rugby or football players to achieve rapid exits from their former clubs – freeing them up to arrange a transfer or retirement, or advising on contractual disputes (such as the distribution of team promotion bonuses)
  • Sport regulatory issues such as Rule K arbitration, anti-doping, Olympic selection disputes, and advising on disciplinary matters both on and off the field of play, including RFU disciplinary tribunals
  • Divorce and family legal advice for sports professionals, including pre-nuptial agreements and complex financial settlements
  • Private wealth advice, including Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney and tax planning
  • Advising sports professionals and rights holders on intellectual property protection, image rights, and intellectual property disputes – whether domestic or international
  • Debt recovery for sports clubs, including debts owed by members who have defaulted on paying annual fees for seats they hold under a membership agreement and claiming unpaid charges from suppliers to sports brands

Discreet family law advice for sportspeople and their partners

Our family law team provides discreet, personalised family legal services to sports professionals. With many years’ experience helping high profile sports people navigate challenging times, we appreciate how much more sensitive legal matters can be for you.

No more so than when you have difficulties in your personal relationships. Your reputation can make or break your future playing career and the prying eyes of the media are never far away. We will always respect your privacy and do all we can to curb unwarranted media intrusion.

Taking into account your profile, commitments and lifestyle, we will guide you through the best options for your situation and give you the sensitive, incisive and expert legal support you need to decide how you’d like to proceed.

What our clients say about us

Very well connected in sport – cricket, rugby and football in particular. Outstanding ability to find solutions on a commercial and cost-effective basis.Legal 500, 2023

A leading firm in the South West in sport without a doubt. Very linked-in, commercial and hard-working. Produces excellent outcomes for clients. Very personable too.” Legal 500, 2021

Clarke Willmott LLP’s national sports sector team excels in representing professional athletes – particularly football and rugby playersLegal 500, 2020

Clarke Willmott LLP’s national sports sector team excels in representing professional athletes – particularly football and rugby players – in employment-related matters. It also advises coaches and professional sports organisations, among other clients. The team’s work often comprises cross-border elements, with strong links with clients in the US being particularly notable.Legal 500, 2020

Clarke Willmott LLP has ‘first-class expertise’ and ‘excellent service with response times that are second to none.Legal 500, 2019

Contact a specialist sports sector solicitor

If you require specialist sport-related legal advice, call us today for a free initial consultation on 0800 652 8025 or get in touch online. We have offices in Birmingham, Bristol, London, Manchester, Cardiff, Southampton and Taunton

Your key contacts

Rob Ridd


Rob Ridd is a partner in Clarke Willmott solicitors’ Bristol corporate and commercial team specialising in company acquisitions and disposals.
View profile for Rob Ridd >

Amy Peacey


Amy helps businesses and individuals document their contract relationships with third parties ensuring their commercial contracts are legally sound and comply with all applicable laws.
View profile for Amy Peacey >

Meet our wider sport team

With seven offices throughout England and Wales, Clarke Willmott is a national law firm with a local presence. Click to learn more about our wider team of legal professionals and how they can support you.

Meet the team

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