Insolvency & Restructuring in the Sports sector

Success or failure in competition can wreak havoc with the finances of a sports business.

To deal with these uncertainties, many sports governing bodies have developed specific rules to work through members’ financial difficulties.  Most well known is the “football creditor rule”, but other sports may also create special regimes.

In addition to that, the matrix of industry specific contractual rights, intellectual property, employment and other legal areas, make financial problems in the sports sector difficult to understand.

That raises risks for stakeholders in these businesses but can create opportunities for the right investors.

To help clients navigate these areas Fladgate has put together a focussed team drawing on expertise of its specialists in a range of areas.

Some of the areas of legal advice covered would include the following:

  • Advice on strategic options open to directors or stakeholder of distressed business bearing in mind specific insolvency regimes in some sports
  • Emergency fundraisings, asset disposals or corporate restructurings
  • Acting for insolvency practitioners appointed as administrators or other insolvency office over businesses
  • Representing buyers of distressed sports businesses and assets
  • Planning transactions where insolvency risks are feared
  • Asset recovery, fraud, breach of duty or other litigation proceedings

If you have any questions or queries please call Jeremy on +44 (0)20 3036 7377 or email

If you have any questions or queries please call Bree on +44 (0)20 3036 7220 or email

“The practice provides ‘responsive and clear advice’ across a range of restructuring and insolvency matters.”

Legal 500 2016
  • Advising Green Pilgrim Limited, part of James Brent’s Akkeron Group, on its acquisition of the Plymouth Argyle Football Club from the Administrators. Under the terms of the deal, Plymouth City Council bought Home Park Stadium for £1.6m from Green Pilgrim and lease it back to Green Pilgrim for annual repayments of approximately £130,000. As part of the transaction, Fladgate advised Green Pilgrim on all its arrangements with the Football League and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) including dealing with football creditors and assisting with the entering into of various agreements to satisfy the Football League and the PFA in respect of all football related matters. Fladgate also advised in connection with the releases from secured creditors to enable the sale to take place
  • Acting for Swindon Football Holdings Ltd and Andrew Black on the sale of Swindon Town FC to a local consortium headed by Banbury United owner, Jed McCrory. The deal, which saw Swindon Town rescued from the prospect of administration. Under the terms of the deal, the sellers wrote off most of the club’s £13m debt
  • Advising the management of the professional team of London Scottish Rugby Club on financial difficulties leading to the merger with Richmond and London Irish and pooling of rights to income from television rights
  • ·Advising management of a national swimming training group on emergency funding to address cash flow issues and restore the group to stability and growth to capitalise on its strong brand and sales
  • Advising owners of the Caterham Formula 1 team on issues arising from the team’s financial difficulties. Fladgate helped management to formulate a plan to rescue the business by way of administration but the plans became impossible to implement due to opposition from opposing parties, leading to demise of the team
  • Advising BDO as administrators of Portsmouth FC. We acted for BDO in what was one of the largest and longest ever running administrations of a football club, and which resulted in a successful outcome which allowed the club to continue its participation in the Football League