Sports

We have a wealth of experience in the sports sector, delivering commercially focused, practical solutions to a wide range of legal issues.

Our clients include sports professionals and teams, organising and governing bodies, and sponsors and agents. We have advised on a number of world games and other major sporting events and have considerable experience of acting for rights holders and hosts in respect of single venues or events with venues in multiple cities or countries.

Our industry experience and insight, allied to the commercial mindset that typifies our approach, enables us to provide our clients with pragmatic advice and, where possible, anticipate problems rather than merely reacting to them. We have been involved with many high-profile events and transactions, but we are equally at home handling the everyday aspects of the sports business.

We have supported clients on a range of a matters including:

  • Image rights and other intellectual property
  • Sponsorship
  • Merchandising and other commercial arrangements,
  • All kinds of dispute resolution including mediation, arbitration and litigation
  • Broadcasting and web rights
  • Fundraising
  • Online business activities
  • Event management
  • Governing body regulatory issues

Our sector experience spans a wide range of sports including motor racing, where we have advised teams and drivers in Formula 1, A1 GP, World Rally, Cart, Indy Car and Moto GP, and cricket, football, golf and cycling.

If you have any questions or queries please call James on +44 (0)20 3036 7300 or email jearl@fladgate.com

Fladgate maintains a broad-ranging involvement in the sports sector and continues to advise a wide array of sport clients on all their legal needs. Best known for its advice on sponsorship, image rights, IP issues and commercial transactions.

Chambers UK
 
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Fladgate LLP is praised for ‘delivering real results’ and is best known in the sporting context for football and motorsport.  Litigator Mark Buckley and commercial partner Alan Wetterhahn are the key names. Clients include Gareth Bale and Sahara Force India F1 team.

James Earl, who is ‘well connected across the sector’, advised PEAK6 on its investment into AFC Bournemouth.

Legal 500

Commercial litigator Mark Buckley leads the team at Fladgate LLP, which acted for Media and Sport Management on a range of commercial and contentious matters. The practice also has notable experience in F1 work for clients such as Sahara Force India F1 team, and Russian Time, the GP2 Motor Sports team, which is a new client.

Legal 500

Fladgate LLP advises a broad client base on domestic and international contracts, such as acting for Media & Sport Management on “off-grid” racing events in Jerusalem and Moscow. Key partners include dual-qualified South African lawyer Grant Gordon, IP and technology specialist Eddie Powell and the multilingual Alex Kaufmann. Advice is “good, quick and practical”.

Legal 500

Fladgate maintains a broad-ranging involvement in the sports sector and continues to advise a wide array of sport clients on all their legal needs. The group is perhaps best known for its advice on sponsorship, image rights, IP issues and commercial transactions, especially in the motor racing industry. It has a long-standing relationship with the Force India Formula One Team, acting for it in High Court proceedings against Team Lotus F1 regarding an alleged case of copyright infringement. Mark Buckley is the head of Fladgate’s sports practice group.

Chambers UK

Headed by Mark Buckley, Fladgate LLP is best known for its Formula 1 work, and has recently been handling a number of disputes for Force India F1. Other high-profile work included advising Gareth Bale on his transfer to Real Madrid.

 

Legal 500

Motor racing remains the sport for which the Fladgate team is best known. Market sources value the team for its thorough understanding of sports rights issues, with “the outstanding quality” being the team’s “practical approach to challenges and to carrying out work”. Mark Buckley was described as “a heavy hitter with vast experience in the motor racing sector”.

Chambers UK

Fladgate LLP’s motor sports team is pursuing copyright infringement and design-related claims for Force One India. Mark Buckley heads the team.

Chambers UK

Alex Haffner of Fladgate LLP has recognised experience in media rights and broadcasting for governing bodies. He also advises on broader commercial and regulatory matters regarding international sporting events and sponsorship negotiations.

Chambers UK

Fladgate LLP bolstered its sports offering by hiring football finance and commercial expert James Earl and senior associate David Quinlan from Pinsent Masons LLP in September 2016. Earl, who is dual qualified in England and Australia, assisted London 2017 and London Championships with governance, financing, insurance and regulatory matters; both clients are the SPVs tasked with delivering the 2017 London IAAF World Athletics Championships and World Para Athletics Championships. He also acted for Ironman on its acquisition of a major UK endurance event. Other clients include Limelight Sports and Mahindra Racing. Litigator and arbitrator Mark Buckley and commercial expert Alan Wetterhahn are also recommended.

Legal 500

Fladgate LLP handles soft IP litigation across the media and sports sectors, with particular expertise in publishing and e-publishing. The team also advises on data protection and security, e-commerce, digital media and social media. It acted for Monster Energy on a number of marketing and advertising campaigns. Digital Cinema Media, Odeon Cinemas and Parkway Cinemas are also clients. IP, technology and commercial specialist Eddie Powell heads the team. James Earl, who joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2016, leads the sports group; corporate lawyer David Robinson handles capital markets and M&A in the technology and publishing sectors. Commercial lawyer Alan Wetterhahn is also noted.

Legal 500

Fladgate LLP’s ‘very good’ department provides ‘first-rate service’. Practice head Grant Gordon advised the shareholders of Swansea City FC on their sale of a majority stake in the club to Swansea Football.

Legal 500

  • Gareth Bale – world record transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid.
  • England footballer – negotiating a Premiership player and current England footballer’s image rights contract with his club.
  • ICC Cricket World Cups 2003 and 2007 – contractual and commercial matters.
  • Leading football agency – FA arbitration.
  • Eddie Irvine – landmark judgment against TalkSport for wrongful use of a celebrities image to endorse products.
  • Crystal Palace FC – FA disciplinary and litigation matters (including the high profile High Court claim against ex–manager Iain Dowie).
  • Russian Time GP2 team – driver agreements.
  • Zanarini Management – sponsorship Agreements with Ferrari F1 team.
  • David Millar – rider agreement with Tour de France team.
  • Force India F1 team – various litigation, arbitration and sporting matters including an appeal to the FIA International Court in Paris.