Since the turn of the century, the business of sport has evolved to become a sophisticated enterprise which incorporates commercial contracts, image rights and sponsorship deals as intricate as one of Lionel Messi’s mesmerising runs.  In this time, business has identified opportunities, created markets where once there was nothing and this winning relationship has seen sport become a £20 billion-a-year industry in the UK alone which supports some 450,000 diverse jobs.

At Devereux we are pleased to be in a position to offer a multi-disciplinary team of barristers with significant experience in sports law. As part of our commercial, tax, employment and serious injury practices, chambers often deal with sport as an aspect of litigation.

Beyond the more commercial aspects of sport we also offer a depth of expertise in our injury team that has experience in handling injury and professional liability claims sustained on the ‘field of play’.  This has included members of chambers being appointed as specialist arbitrators in sports injury liability and quantum disputes.

In recent years we have acted for and against many football and rugby clubs, cricket clubs (both domestically and internationally), sporting associations/governing bodies (including the FA and European PGA), agents, sports broadcasters, individual athletes and owners.

Our barristers’ expertise in this area is assisted by the fact that they are huge sports fans which makes them passionate and sought-after individuals who stay abreast of the ever-changing landscape that are committed to providing a first-class service to our clients.  One of our members is a former Authorised Agent under the FA Football Agents Regulations, so as well as regularly appearing in courts, specialist tribunals and inquiries on sport-related matters, we’re well placed to offer ‘real-life’ experience.

In April 2020, Robert Glancy QC was been appointed to the Disciplinary Panel of the inaugural Premier League Judicial Panel. The panel was created to allow for independent adjudication on disciplinary cases referred by the Premier League Board, and to resolve disputes between Clubs and Managers.

The full range of legal work across the industry of sport is covered by our team, including advising on and drafting contracts; litigation, disputes and their resolution; tax; and all regulatory issues.

Examples of our work include:

  • Advice and representation in a high-profile employment status tax appeal concerning the tax treatment of football referees;
  • Several appeals relating to the correct tax treatment of payments made by clubs to players in relation to image rights, and by clubs to agents in relation to agents’ fees;
  • The application of the IR35 legislation concerning the employment status of one of the UK’s best-known sports broadcasters;
  • Representing the taxpayer in an appeal before both the FTT and the UT. The appeal concerned the tax treatment of payments made to two footballers, on their transfer to the same club. The question was whether the payments were “from employment” within the meaning of s.62 Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003;
  • Appearing for HMRC in the appeal by McLaren Racing Limited regarding the correct tax treatment of the $100m fine imposed in 2007 by the World Motor Sport Council;
  • Representing a greyhound trainer in proceedings before the Disciplinary Committee of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB);
  • Appearing before the Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel in a matter concerning an abandoned game;
  • Advising a Premiership rugby player regarding his rights under his playing contract and image rights agreements;
  • Advising a rugby coach in a claim for breach of contract against his former club in proceedings issued in the County Court and Employment Tribunal;
  • Hearing before the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel relating to the disciplining of a show jumper;
  • Advice in various boxing matters including relating to British Boxing Board of Control boxer/manager agreements and licences;
  • Considering potential quantum of damages in a claim for professional negligence against a vet in relation to a racehorse;
  • Various equine-related disputes. Which require a good understanding of the issues relating to the sale of horses engaging the Sale of Goods Act 1982 and for misrepresentation;
  • Research in advance of a hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne concerning a nationality issue;
  • Drafting a defence in a case concerning fiduciary duties of football agents;
  • Party-appointed arbitrator in FA Rule K arbitration.

 

Please refer to individual barristers’ profiles for further details of experience, recent and significant cases.