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Our specialist services

“I do not know of a situation in sport that they have not advised on and at the highest levels.”

Chambers & Partners, 2017

Recognised as a market leader for advising clients in the sport and media sectors, our team has been setting the standards in the field for many years. Our multi-lingual team and global network of contacts enables us to advise on a worldwide basis. We work with governing bodies, national associations, leagues, clubs, player/athlete associations, individual players/athletes and agents/intermediaries. We also work with rights holders, brands and individual personalities.

Our areas of expertise:

Regulatory and Governance

Regulatory and Governance

One of Centrefield’s key strengths is advising on regulatory and governance issues, including:

  • Organisation structures;
  • Drafting of constitutions;
  • Membership rights and obligations;
  • Club ownership;
  • Rules and regulations;
  • Stakeholder dynamics; and
  • Financial Fair Play regulations.
Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution

Centrefield advises clients on disputes and their resolution, including before the following forums:

  • Sports’ governing body dispute resolution mechanisms including The FA, the Premier League, the Football League, UEFA, FIFA, the Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Football League;
  • The Court of Arbitration for Sport;
  • Sport Resolutions’ arbitration and mediation forums; and
  • The civil and criminal courts.
Disciplinary

Disciplinary

Centrefield advises on all types of disciplinary matters, including:

  • Disciplinary procedures and processes;
  • On and off field disciplinary matters; and
  • Representation before disciplinary panels, hearings and appeal hearings.
Integrity

Integrity

Centrefield advises on integrity matters, including:

  • Issues relating to financial transparency, match fixing, general rule compliance and ethics;
  • Drafting policies and procedures to combat bribery and corruption;
  • Representation in doping cases including in relation to missed and positive tests and ‘whereabouts’ cases; and
  • Child protection and safeguarding issues.
Individual Representation

Individual Representation

Centrefield has extensive experience of advising individuals working in the sports and media sector and their agents/intermediaries including in relation to:

  • Playing contracts or selection agreements;
  • Service Agreements;
  • Image Rights;
  • Defamation;
  • Media & Crisis management; and
  • Criminal matters and civil disputes.
Player/Athlete Contracts and Transfers

Player/Athlete Contracts and Transfers

Centrefield advises on player/athlete contract issues in a number of sports.

We represent clubs, including in the Premier League, Football League, Scottish Professional Football League and Major League Soccer and advise the Professional Footballers’ Association and the Rugby Players’ Association (and their respective members).  As the UK’s leading legal practice in football, we routinely act on world recording breaking transfers. We advise on issues in relation to:

  • All aspects of player contracts and associated documentation;
    Standard playing contracts and team member agreements for leagues, teams and governing bodies;
  • Transfer arrangements both at a domestic and international level, including drafting transfer and loan documentation;
  • The negotiation and drafting of player contracts, including bonus structures and “buy-out” clauses;
  • Pre-contract and option arrangements;
  • Image Rights;
  • International and domestic approach rules and general regulatory compliance;
  • Article 17 cases under the FIFA Regulations;
  • Third Party Ownership issues and compliance;
  • Training Compensation and Solidarity cases;
  • Issues under the Intermediary Regulations including the content of representation contracts, permissible remuneration structures and general compliance issues;
  • Compensation for out of contract players in England including representation before the Professional Football Compensation Committee;
  • The international Movement of Minors under the FIFA Regulations; and
  • Managerial and ‘backroom’ staff appointments including negotiating and drafting service agreements, compromise agreements and disputes before the Managers’ Arbitration Tribunal.
Image Rights

Image Rights

Centrefield has extensive experience of advising on all matters in connection with image rights, including:

  • Structuring arrangements, including the scope of rights being acquired, exploitation of the same and associated risks and benefits;
  • The development and implementation of marketing programmes;
  • Image protection and image exploitation, including all forms of personal endorsement, brand ambassador and service arrangements;
  • Club/team image rights arrangements, including in respect of players/athletes, managers/coaches and/or ambassadors; and
  • HMRC issues (including investigations).
Immigration

Immigration

Centrefield has extensive experience of advising in connection with the engagement of foreign nationals (playing and non-playing staff) for both club related personnel and individual athletes and their families, including advising in relation to:

  • Issues relating to Home Office sponsor licences;
  • Governing Body Endorsements (Points Based System);
  • UK visa and leave to remain applications and appeals;
  • Representing clients before the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal; and
  • Home Office compliance audits.
Sponsorship & Partnership Arrangements

Sponsorship & Partnership Arrangements

Centrefield advises both rights holders and sponsors on all sponsorship and partnership issues, with market leading experience of advising on some of the largest and most high profile deals. This includes advising on the structure and exploitation of commercial programmes and the protection of associated brand(s) and rights and negotiating and/or drafting a range of commercial agreements, including in relation to:

  • Sponsorship, including naming rights, endorsement and brand ambassador arrangements;
  • Supply of goods and/or services, across a wide range of product/service sectors; and
  • Structuring and implementation of marketing programmes including rights audits and analysis.
Merchandising, Licensing and Affinity

Merchandising, Licensing and Affinity

Centrefield has vast experience of advising both rights holders and licensees in connection with merchandising, licensing and affinity arrangements. This includes advising on:

  • Dual and single branded products and services;
  • Rights holder merchandising programmes;
  • Publishing arrangements in a wide range of media;
  • Distribution arrangements, including retail channels and arrangements; and
  • Affiliate and co-operation agreements.
Broadcasting, Digital Media, Social Media and Data

Broadcasting, Digital Media, Social Media and Data

Centrefield advises clients on a wide range of media issues, including:

  • Broadcasting arrangements;
  • Digital content creation and exploitation;
  • Digital media technologies for use in venues and arenas;
  • Marketing programmes for technology suppliers;
  • Social media management and use, including policies and guidance; and
  • The collection, management and exploitation of data.
Event Organisation and Venues

Event Organisation and Venues

Centrefield advises on issues relating to event organisation and venues, including:

  • Bid processes;
  • Venue hire arrangements;
  • Event hosting and staging;
  • Rights protection programmes, including in relation ambush marketing;
  • Ticketing arrangements;
  • Hosting and/or participating in friendly matches, tournaments and/or tours; and
  • Venue management and exploitation, including digital media.