Tennis stands out from many other sports in attracting comparable levels of public interest across both the men’s and the women’s game. However, the progression of women’s tennis has been somewhat hindered by a delay in the evolution and modernisation of its administrative rules and regulations. By way of example, it was not until 2007 that women became entitled to equal prize money across all four grand slams. Even now, there are examples of inconsistencies between the men’s and women’s games – prize money is only equal at the four grand slams and over a decade later, there remains a significant gender gap in earnings from the sport. Similarly, in 2018, the French player Alize Cornet was penalised at the US Open for briefly taking her shirt off on court as she had accidently put it on back to front, whilst men suffer no penalty for changing their shirts on court in between breaks.
Centrefield is proud to announce the inaugural publication of Sports Law from Getting the Deal Through along with lead co-editors Laffer Abagados of Spain. Together the firms have led the development and structure of this new publication, which brings together industry insight from many of the world’s leading sports lawyers.
Getting The Deal Through is is the original Q&A reference source of comparative law and regulation, providing international expert analysis in key areas of law covering 130 countries across 90 practice areas and industry sectors with a global coverage. The Sports Law publication is the first sports-specific industry guide within the Getting the Deal Through series and includes know-how from industry experts across 13 jurisdictions throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, as well as an analysis of the Court of Arbitration for Sport – currently the primary forum for resolving sporting disputes globally.
In a much-anticipated judgment, the Court of Appeal in The Director of the Serious Fraud Office (‘SFO’) v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd (‘ENRC’)  EWCA Civ 2006 has helpfully clarified the scope of litigation privilege and (reluctantly) also upheld the current definition of ‘client’ for the purposes of legal advice privilege.
The Court of Appeal’s judgment raises some important issues that individuals and companies, faced with the prospect of criminal or regulatory investigations/proceedings, should bear in mind before commencing internal investigations in order to ensure that litigation privilege can legitimately be claimed over any documentation or material that is created.
Centrefield has retained its position as a Top-Tier law firm for Sport within the latest Legal 500 rankings for sport in the North West and continues to be ranked among the leading firms in UK sport within both the Chambers and Legal 500 directories.
Chambers noted the firm’s “standout portfolio of clients” and that “The firm live and breathe sport”, with Legal 500 noting that Centrefield’s “specialist team” is “recommended for its work across a range of sports including rugby, swimming, golf, triathlon, cricket and cycling” and “with an especially strong record in football”. Chambers highlighted the firm’s breadth of capabilities, providing “advice on the full suite of commercial, regulatory and disputes matters, including anti-doping” with “considerable capability in relation to immigration and sponsorship matters.”
A new third tier European club competition looks to be on the horizon, with UEFA recently providing its initial approval for the new tournament, filling the gap left by the dissolution of Europe’s previous third tier continental tournament, the Cup Winners’ Cup, back in 1999.
Under the current proposal an additional 16 teams will have the opportunity to participate in UEFA club football, with the Europa League being reduced from 48 to 32 teams and the new tournament likewise featuring 32 teams. UEFA are also currently proposing that the new tournament be broadcast and sold online, a change that will no doubt concern television broadcasters given the current trend for greater online media consumption and the increasing competition from online companies in sports broadcasting.
For Clubs currently on the cusp of European football, a new tournament could provide not only the chance for European silverware, but potential commercial and brand building opportunities. Similarly for players and their representatives there may be possibilities to create additional value within players’ future playing and commercial arrangements. The following sets out some initial thoughts on the potential opportunities and issues a new tournament may bring:
Centrefield has again demonstrated its position as one of the leading professional advisors in world football, acting on a range of high profile transfers, loans, contract renewals and managerial and coaching staff appointments and departures throughout the 2018 summer transfer window.
Whilst the earlier than normal closure of the English Premier League’s summer transfer window may have led to a slight fall in total transfer spend in England, due to the firm’s international client base, Centrefield still acted on approximately one hundred transactions globally with total deal values in excess of £500 million, including many of the summer’s highest profile moves.
The firm demonstrated its broad industry expertise through its representation of clubs, players and intermediaries from around the globe on a range of issues including regulatory, transactional, commercial, contentious and immigration matters.
For further information about Centrefield’s football services please contact email@example.com
The long awaited and much discussed EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enters into force across the EU and the UK on 25 May 2018, bringing with it a range of new and extensive requirements for organisations involved in the collection, processing and management of personal data. Additionally, from 25 May 2018, the new Data Protection Act 2018 replaces the Data Protection Act 1998 and will sit alongside the GDPR as the UK’s new data protection laws.
Our earlier article available here previously highlighted many of the broader issues under the GDPR which are still relevant, however, with the implementation of GDPR taking place, Centrefield has now provided some further thoughts for those involved in the sports industry to consider as they seek to address GDPR:
#1 The clock is ticking – whilst GDPR compliance should technically be completed by now, there remains some ‘added time’ and the ICO has made it clear that organisations are unlikely to face significant fines for non-compliance on day one, provided that their compliance plans are underway. However, for organisations that are yet to get to grips with GDPR, the clock is ticking so now is the time to consider and take advice on how best to comply with GDPR and accelerate the implementation process.
#2 Data mapping – have you carried out a data protection audit across your organisation? Organisations should now have a clear understanding of their data related operations, including how personal data is collected, processed, and transferred (whether within its organisational structure or to third parties). Understanding the flow of data within your organisation (sometimes known as ‘data mapping’) will be invaluable both during the implementation of data protection policies and when dealing with personal data on a day to day basis. As part of an audit/data mapping process, organisations should be clear what policies/procedures require updating and which contractual arrangements (mainly those with services providers acting as ‘data processors’) require amendment.
#3 Commercial arrangements – sporting organisations, whether clubs, sports brands, agencies or companies involved in sport (such as ticketing agencies, CRM providers and event organisers) will need to consider any existing and future commercial arrangements in the context of GDPR. For sports organisations (particularly clubs and teams) their sponsorship arrangements, which may be heavily reliant on the value of access to fan data, will need be reviewed to ensure they have both the relevant consents to utilise such data and that any potential sponsors agree to and are able to implement any necessary data protection arrangements.
#4 Fan / Customer data – consent to use personal data will now be harder to obtain particularly in relation to marketing communications. Silence, pre-ticked boxes/requirements to opt-out or non-specific/‘blanket’ consent requirements are no longer sufficient and consent must be “unambiguous”. Sports organisations should have clear processes and procedures to document how consent was obtained and for what purpose. Data protection laws do not exist in isolation and organisations are also required to comply with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 which sets out rules about how you can contact fans/customers (e.g. whether by email and/or by phone etc.).
#5 Rights of individuals – the new data protection laws enhance the rights of individuals and put individuals in control of their own data more than ever before. Further, personal data breaches by organisations have been significant news topics recently, meaning individuals are now more aware of their data rights than ever before. New rules around ‘subject access requests’ (i.e. the right for an individual to receive a copy of his/her personal data held by an organisation) will mean that organisations will need a clear system in place to respond to subject access requests within the required time period. A subject access request could arise in a number of scenarios in the form of a request to a national governing body, a club or a team (e.g. from an aggrieved athlete/player, a parent of a young athlete/player or an employee /former employee).
If you would like any more information on any of the points raised above or any advice in connection with data protection matters, please contact David Bentham (Partner), Deirdre McCarthy (Associate) or David Anderson (Associate), or call 0161 672 5450.
Please note the information contained in this briefing is intended as a general review of the subject featured and is not intended as specific legal advice.
Whilst the global growth in football continues unabated, the continued boom in the industry has seen an associated growth in both the number and value of international disputes between clubs, players and intermediaries. Centrefield has experienced this growth first hand, advising a variety of participants on disputes across the sport. The firm recently published an article in the European Professional League Legal Newsletter summarising of the legal framework for dispute resolution within football and examining the international and domestic positions for participants in the industry. In particular the article emphasises the limitations football regulations place on the ability of participants to launch claims or resolve disputes outside of the football regulatory framework. Those involved in any dispute may be surprised to find the usual role of national courts for resolving disputes within football is considerably limited. The article also provides some useful considerations for industry participants on how to prepare for and protect against any issues arising when navigating the football landscape, including:
#1 Identifying mandatory pathways – both at the time of drafting a contractual agreement and when faced by an impending dispute, it is important to be aware of the mandatory dispute resolution pathways to which you are bound (in particular through the membership of a league, national association and ultimately FIFA).
#2 Getting the contract right – where possible you should seek to agree clear dispute resolution provisions at the outset of any contractual arrangements, noting that any arbitration provisions should be compatible with the mandatory dispute resolution pathways set out in the applicable rules and regulations. Such provisions should be clear on the nature of disputes to which they relate, the forum, and any relevant procedural considerations, including the language and timeframe of any proceedings.
#3 Seeking advice – the various forums available to participants can be a labyrinth to those with limited experience of such matters and getting the process wrong can be costly. It is therefore important to seek early advice on the options available in any dispute and where possible before committing to any proposed contractual arrangements.
The full article can be viewed here.
If you would like more information on any of the points raised above or any advice in connection with any potential or ongoing disputes, please contact Matthew Bennett (Partner) or Jennifer Norris (Associate), or call 0161 672 5450.
Please note the information contained in this briefing is intended as a general review of the subject featured and is not intended as specific legal advice.
Centrefield’s ranking for its work in Sport has risen in the recently published Chambers UK 2018 directory. In only its second year, Centrefield’s ranking has been elevated, placing it among the leading sports practices in the UK. This follows the firm’s recent promotion in the Legal 500 Rankings and reflects its success in establishing itself as one of the UK’s leading sports practices following its launch in December 2015. The firm was recognised by its clients for ‘their expertise in all areas of sports law and their approach’ and the partners were once again highlighted by clients for their work, with Matthew Bennett described as an ‘industry leader’ and Edward Canty being noted as ‘strong on the regulatory side… he has good experience dealing with governing bodies and understands that side of sport’. David Bentham was praised for his ‘extensive knowledge and expertise in sports law’, whilst Stuart Baird was also hailed as ‘brilliant with clients’, who also noted that he ‘knows the area inside-out.’
The praise and ranking underlines the specialist knowledge, experience and expertise Centrefield has within Sport and the firm’s ability to deliver industry specific advice, tailored to the need of its clients.
If you require any advice on any sports related matters or would like to discuss the services we can offer, you can contact the firm by Email or by phone on 0161 672 5450.
Centrefield has been ranked as a Top-Tier law firm for Sport within the Legal 500 2017 rankings. The firm was described by clients as being ‘among the best specialist sports practices by some distance, and undoubtedly one of the leading firm of solicitors for football’. In addition to its overall rankings, the firm’s partners have also been recognised, with Matthew Bennett is listed in the ‘Leading Individuals’ in UK Sport and noted as having ‘unparalleled knowledge and experience of regulatory law and is very popular with clients’.
David Bentham and Edward Canty are also recognised as leading lawyers within the industry, with David being described as ‘first-class and responsive’ and having ‘excellent industry knowledge and a superb commercial focus’, whilst Edward is noted as a ‘pre-eminent sports lawyer who is knowledgeable, skilful and user-friendly’. Stuart Baird is also listed in the leading ‘Next Generation Lawyers’ in UK Sport, being described as ‘very bright, calm and unflappable’ and someone who ‘knows the football industry inside out and commands respect’.
Having only established the practice in 2015, the firm’s top-tier rankings within the Legal 500 recognise the firm’s success in quickly establishing its position as one of the pre-eminent sports law practices within the UK.