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Football

The Walker Morris Sports Group has particularly strong expertise in the football sector.

The Group includes individuals that have worked in senior positions at Premier League and Football League clubs, and between us we have worked in-house at seven Premier League clubs. Indeed, the Group has a real insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by football clubs as they strive for success on the pitch, and how this can be translated into the best possible legal advice and assistance.

Our key areas of work include:

Corporate Law

  • corporate finance – including equity, debt and asset finance, factoring and discount products
  • acquisitions – the purchase (and sale) of sports organisations
  • tax – advice pertinent to sports organisations, including PAYE / NIC,
  • corporate taxes, HMRC liaison, tax efficient products
  • corporate restructuring – the Group is highly experienced in both proactive and reactive restructuring.

Commercial Partnerships

  • main sponsorship – including acting for clubs or principal sponsors on kit supply arrangements
  • brand partnerships – including key brand associations and official suppliers
  • naming rights – for instance of stadia, stands and training complexes
  • outsourcing arrangements – such as hospitality and food & beverage provision

Intellectual Property

  • brand protection – including commercialisation opportunities and enforcement
  • merchandise deals – often involving multiple jurisdictions
  • image rights – their protection, commercialisation and enforcement
    IPR litigation

‘Rules and Regs’

  • Premier League – including Premier League Arbitration
  • Football League – the Football Disciplinary Commission
  • Football Association – including Football Association Arbitration

Real Estate

  • sale and leaseback deals
  • private finance construction/lease arrangements
  • equity release
  • redevelopment and planning

Employment

  • player contracts, manager/coaching staff contracts (e.g. hires and exits), non-football contracts
  • general employment/HR issues e.g. disciplinary/grievance issues, settlement agreements
  • TUPE issues on insourcing/outsourcing service contracts e.g. catering
    managing the risks of social media use by employees
  • immigration matters, including visas and work permits

Regulatory

  • data protection
  • consumer credit regulation

Our experience in the football sector has also enabled us to build a network of professional connections that might, in the correct circumstances, be able to assist football clubs in the areas of corporate finance, investment, new commercial partnerships, outsourcing opportunities and tax efficient opportunities.

Leading partner David Hinchliffe is a nationally renowned football finance and corporate restructuring expert, and is regularly sought-out by high profile financiers and administrators. He is also often instructed by owners of football clubs looking to sell the club, and by wealthy companies/individuals who are looking to acquire or invest in a football club.

Learn more about the Group here.

Our Specialists