We’re proudly experts in the field, with a huge amount of experience covering domestic and international loan and transfer agreements, player contracts, image rights agreements, intermediary agreements and supporting clubs in-house by carrying out contractual reviews.
We are routinely instructed by a multitude of high net worth clients looking to invest or purchase sports clubs and regularly advise on high value, complex, commercially sensitive and headline generating matters. We act for both sellers and purchasers of sports clubs and as a full-service law firm conduct comprehensive legal due diligence for prospective purchasers on all aspects of a club’s business.
We also provide expert advice and guidance on the Premier League, EFL, National League and FA’s change of control tests and approval processes, including UEFA dual ownership regulations.
We have extensive experience assisting clubs in navigating the transfer process and ensuring compliance with the rules and regulations of FIFA, The FA and the Premier League/EFL. We advise on drafting loan agreements and transfer agreements for both the purchase and sale of players, drafting specific detailed clauses within, advising on third party ownership issues and ensuring the deal remains within the strict deadlines of the transfer window.
Our Sports Litigation and Arbitration Team advise clubs on disputes relating to transfer agreements and the process for formally resolving a dispute via the relevant league or FA Rule K arbitration. We can also assist when compensation is due for an out-of-contract player and this cannot be agreed between the clubs and a Professional Football Compensation Committee is required.
We assist clients with drafting playing contracts and pre-contract agreements as well as on specific terms and clauses that might be required by a club or player ensuring at all times compliance with FA and Premier League/EFL rules and regulations.
We have experience advising on image rights contracts and the alterations that are required to the standard playing contract when these types of arrangements are entered into. We can also advise on the record keeping that is required to ensure that clubs can demonstrate to HMRC the genuine commercial benefit that they are receiving from the contract.
We work closely with clubs and intermediaries on compliance with FA and FIFA regulations. We also advise on the arrangements in place between clubs, intermediaries and players, including drafting agency agreements and tripartite agreements. The standard form intermediary contracts produced by The FA are very basic and do not provide anywhere near the level of detail we would recommend. We can advise both clubs and intermediaries alike on how to improve these agreements.
The Group has experience of reviewing full sets of clubs’ contractual documentation relating to players to ensure compliance with football rules and regulations. We can help clubs to identify issues before they become a bigger problem and assist in preparing updated templates to ensure the club is protected going forward.
Our leading partner David Hinchliffe is a nationally renowned football finance and corporate restructuring expert. David is regularly sought out by high-profile financiers and administrators in respect of equity, debt and asset finance, factoring and discount products, formal insolvencies, turnarounds and both proactive and reactive restructuring.
“I rate them as highly as anyone in the sporting world. They have a great client base. They really look after their clients well. They are a top, top litigation sport firm”
“Outstanding client list and first class quality of both contentious and non-contentious partners.”
“The team combines legal expertise with a commercial attitude and prompt service.”
“Walker Morris has commanding in-depth knowledge of the football industry. They are without doubt market leaders.”
“David Hinchliffe, who heads the team, is one of the foremost lawyers in the country dealing with the sales and purchases of football clubs. He understands the market and he finds commercial solutions to deliver the client’s wishes.”
“David Hinchliffe is recognised as a leader in his field. He knows all that there is to know about football – as well as knowing all the individuals there are to know. David is a go-to football solicitor.”
Head of Sport