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Clifford Chance

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Our dedicated cross-practice Sport (Industry) Group has unrivalled expertise in the sector, built on 25 years of providing innovative and commercial solutions to our clients around the world. We regularly advise international, regional and national sporting bodies, as well as investors, clubs, banks and other stakeholders, on their legal needs (transactional or contentious), across the full legal spectrum of the Sport Industry.

The increasing convergence of sport and business involves an international and diverse community of investors, stakeholders, governments, supranational bodies, funders, consumer brands and, of course, sportspersons. Successful interaction among them depends on high-quality legal advice which is sensitive to the commercial and cultural environment of sport. Such advice is vital, for example, in acquiring and funding sports businesses, commercialising sports related rights, developing physical infrastructure and supporting the bodies that regulate and host events.

Our Sports Industry Group exists to meet that need, combining our international leadership in the key areas of legal expertise with longstanding and authentic expertise in the sports arena.

Client experience

Commercial experience:

  • Advised the majority shareholder in Arsenal FC on its takeover
  • Advised LFP in the context of the invitation to tender concerning the sale of the TV rights of the top French football championship (Ligue 1) for the seasons 2020-2021 to 2023-2024. For the first time in the history of the championship of France, the symbolic threshold of a billion euros (i.e. 1,153,000,000 EUR per season) has been exceeded in the sale of the TV rights of the Ligue 1
  • Fox Networks Group on a landmark media rights deal in African football. The deal, which saw Fox Sports working with two African football unions – Zone West A and Zone West B – resulted in a series of regional football tournaments for the 16 nations who make up the two zones. The tournament was broadcast in 22 countries in Africa and distributed to more than 125 million Fox Sports subscribers across Africa, Europe, Asia and the US
  • Adviser to the International Paralympic Committee
  • Adviser to the Centre for Sport and Human Rights
  • Appointed Official Law Firm of Rugby World Cup 2015
  • The successful London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics bid team on key agreements related to the bid for the Games 
  • Qatar bidding team for the Doha 2016 Olympic bid
  • UEFA European Football on the 2012 and the 2016 UEFA Championships 
  • The Organising Committee for the 2003 World Athletics Championship in Paris 
  • Event management, stadium and broadcasting agreements for the Stella Artois Tennis Tournament in London
  • Sportfive on the acquisition of the broadcasting rights for Europe for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games

Contentious experience:

  • Advised the Pakistan Cricket Board in a multi-million dollar dispute with the Board of Control for Cricket in India
  • Advised the minority shareholder of Blackpool Football Club in an unfair prejudice petition and a separate breach of contract claim against the Club's majority shareholder and its directors
  • Advised Multiplex Constructions Limited on diverse disputes arising from the construction of Wembley National Stadium
  • Adviser to the International Paralympic Committee in relation to a wide range of issues
  • Advised World Rugby in relation to the Rugby World Cup 2015 and other matters
  • Advised a professional sports team on an anti-doping investigation
  • Member of Sports Resolutions' pro bono panel, providing pro bono advice to athletes on anti-doping matters
  • Advised Richard Gasquet in response to anti-doping charges before the International Tennis Federation's tribunal and the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Directory listings and client comments

  • "go-to practice for particularly heavy sports litigation, involving complex analysis of extensive evidence."
    Legal 500: Sports
  • Yves Wehril is described as the "Star practitioner and undisputed leader in this area" and by sources as "the most important sports lawyer in the market, especially in the football sector".
    Chambers: Sport - France