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Edward Canty, Partner

Edward Canty

Partner

Edward is widely recognised as an expert in the field of sports law. He has extensive experience in advising clients in relation to all regulatory disputes and disciplinary matters, together with advising on governance and contractual issues. He has specific expertise in football, and provides advice on matters such as player contracts, transfers and related issues; he is also retained by a number of key clients including the Professional Footballers’ Association, individual players, national associations, leagues and clubs and has an unrivalled knowledge of the football industry.

Edward has considerable experience in dealing with media issues such as defamation, image protection and crisis management. He also advises sports clients in high profile criminal matters, and regularly represents clients in cases before the disciplinary bodies of The FA and UEFA, and cases before the Premier League, the Football League, the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and the FIFA Players’ Status Committee.

Edward is highly regarded within the industry, as reflected by his external sporting appointments. He is a director of PFA Enterprises Limited, the Professional Footballers’ Association company, and is a member of the Panel of Arbitrators at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland (having also been appointed to the specialist football panel).

The Legal 500 highlights Edward as a key contact for football matters and describes him as a solicitor who is “charming and has great judgment.” The Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession notes that Edward has “a fantastic knowledge of all the major areas of sports law.”

Matthew Bennett, Partner

Matthew Bennett

Partner

Matthew works extensively across the sports sector. He has a particular recognition as a leading advisor to the football industry both in the UK and worldwide due to him regularly advising on complex and high value international player transfers. He advises a number of professional clubs including those from the Premier League, the Football League, the Scottish Professional Football League and Major League Soccer, as well as players and intermediaries, on a wide variety of regulatory and legal matters.

Matthew has represented clients before a variety of dispute resolution forums at a domestic and international level, including The FA, FIFA, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Sport Resolutions and Golf’s European Tour. Matthew also lectures to students on the British Association for Sport and Law Post Graduate Certificate in Sports Law and is regularly invited to speak at Sports Law conferences. 

The Legal 500 describes Matthew as “knowledgeable, calm and effective“. In the Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession, Matthew is ranked in Band 1 for Sports Lawyers in the UK where he is described as “one of the best football lawyers, if not the best, in the country.”

David Bentham, Partner

David Bentham

Partner

David is a lawyer with an in-depth understanding of commercial, sport and media law. As a leading lawyer in the industry, his practice includes advising governing bodies, clubs, sports and media individuals, sponsors, players’ unions and other sports and media businesses on a wide range of issues, such as sponsorship and merchandising programmes, tour and event agreements, e-commerce and m-commerce, broadcasting and publishing arrangements.

David has a particular specialism for advising clients on image rights and personal endorsement deals (in respect of which he is noted in the Chambers Guide as a professional whose “quality of work and knowledge is outstanding”) and has advised connection with some of the biggest names in sport. He led the team, for example, as it advised Portsmouth FC on general sponsorship matters and arrangement of its new shirt sponsor. With the Legal 500 also describing David as “knowledgeable, commercially savvy” and offering “sound practical advice“, his specialist expertise and commercial acumen for sponsorship and merchandising has resulted in him being brought in by leading brands to act on some of their most valuable and complex deals. David also regularly lectures on sports law, including on the British Association for Sport and Law Post Graduate Certificate in Sports Law.

Stuart Baird, Partner

Stuart Baird

Partner

Having trained as part of the pioneering James Chapman & Co Sports Team, Stuart has a vast experience of sports law, particularly in connection with football and rugby, and his impressive portfolio of work has been recognised by the legal directories for years. His practice focuses on regulatory, contractual, dispute and disciplinary matters and he has extensive experience in representing clients before a number of regulatory bodies. Stuart also assists a number of governing bodies with the drafting of rules and regulations and is widely regarded as the ‘go to’ sports lawyer for immigration issues.

The Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession highlights Stuart as being “clearly a star of the future” who “does an enormous amount of high-profile work” for football and rugby clients, while the Legal 500 describes his work as “outstanding.”

Sarah Athi, Associate

Sarah Athi

Associate

Sarah has specialist experience in sports law. Sarah trained at Brabners LLP and, as a former England junior international Hockey Captain, she has an outstanding sporting pedigree. She advises clients on a variety of issues, including disciplinary, regulatory, contentious and immigration matters. She has particular expertise advising individuals on defamation, crisis management and criminal matters.

Deirdre McCarthy, Associate

Deirdre McCarthy

Associate

Deirdre advises across a range of sports and media matters, with particular specialisms in connection with governance arrangements, commercial / contractual matters, digital and social media, team member agreements, selection and participation issues, integrity issues (including anti-bribery compliance and athlete integrity matters) and doping. A keen triathlete and cyclist, Deirdre is fluent in French and is dual qualified having qualified in Ireland. She is a member of the ‘Women’s Sport Network’ and also a UK Anti-Doping Accredited Advisor.

Oliver Sadler, Associate

Oliver Sadler

Associate

Oliver specialises in advising across a range of commercial matters in sport and media, including sponsorship, merchandising, image rights, athlete endorsements and venue and event arrangements. Previously, Oliver has spent time on secondment at Manchester United Football Club. An accomplished cricketer and Oxford University graduate, he is an Oxford Blue, having been the First Team Captain.

Andrew Gartside, Associate

Andrew Gartside

Associate

Andrew specialises in advising sport clients on disciplinary, regulatory and contractual matters including loans, transfers and playing contracts. Andrew has also undertaken work on a variety of disputes and has experience in advising clients on immigration related queries, such as visa and work permit requirements. A keen footballer and golfer, Andrew joined the team in 2012.

Jennifer Norris, Associate

Jennifer Norris

Associate

Jennifer works across all areas of sports law encompassing both regulatory and commercial matters. Jennifer qualified in 2014; an Oxford University graduate, she also studied at the Université de la Sorbonne in Paris, is fluent in French and Spanish, and during a year living in Argentina worked in-house for the Argentinean Football Association.

David Anderson, Associate

David Anderson

Associate

David qualified in 2016 and joined Centrefield early the following year. He works across a range of sporting matters, advising clients on both commercial and regulatory matters. David enjoys playing a variety of sports, is a qualified ski instructor and race coach, and has his Level 1 FA coaching badge.

Janet Yates, Team Administrator

Janet Yates

Team Administrator

Janet has worked with the team since 2003. Her role includes a wide variety of business support functions including finance and credit control, managing suppliers and event organisation.