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.
- 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
- 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
- Clifford Chance LLP's international sports practice advises governing bodies on commercial, contentious and regulatory matters, including event hosting and IP, while also acting for shareholders and governing bodies on major disputes. The firm has been advising US businessman and Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke on his £600m bid to buy the whole of the Premier League football club.
Legal 500 UK 2020: TMT (technology, media and telecoms): Sport
- Christopher Yates, who recently successfully acted for VB Football Assets on its high-profile dispute over the ownership of Blackpool FC. He is also highly skilled in contentious issues surrounding regulations and anti-doping. The team also handles non-contentious corporate work through Tim Lewis, who continues to advise Kroenke Sports & Entertainment on its interests in Arsenal FC; he was recently added to the Premier League club's board as a non-executive director. Jennifer Mbaluto, who focuses on M&A and TMT matters, is also recommended.
Legal 500 UK 2020: TMT (technology, media and telecoms): Sport
- "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
- PE capital in sport
- Events cancellation
- Clifford Chance partner Audley Sheppard QC has been appointed as the new Chair of the Sport Resolutions' Board, taking over from Edwin Glasgow CBE, QC. Audley said: "I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to work with the Board, the Chief Executive and the team at Sport Resolutions in helping to provide independent, efficient and accessible dispute resolution services to everyone involved in sport, and to build on Edwin's legacy. I am committed to improving integrity and trust in all aspects of sport at all levels."
22 June 2021
- Clifford Chance Sport Industry Group advise City Football Group on its first Non-Fungible Token
19 May 2021
- Clifford Chance partner Chris Yates and Senior Associate James Cranston appointed to Sport Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators. Chris and James are the leaders of the firm's Sport Industry Group.
International Paralympic Committee anti-doping matters
Rory Scott and Jumani Robbins acted for the International Paralympic Committee in eleven an anti-doping cases brought by the IPC. Clifford Chance continues to act for the IPC on anti-doping and other matters.
Between March 2019 and March 2020
- Clifford Chance corporate Partner, and member of the Clifford Chance Sport (Industry) Group, has been appointed to the Board of Arsenal Football Club as a non-executive director. Tim specialises in advising listed and international corporate clients on M&A, equity issues and reorganisations, as well as providing general corporate advice.
30 July 2020
- Clifford Chance appointed legal advisor to the Invictus Games Foundation to provide a suite of legal services across commercial, intellectual property, employment, pensions, governance and risk. The Clifford Chance team is led by head of the firm's sport practice in London, Chris Yates.
11 July 2019
- Clifford Chance Madrid advises Real Madrid Board of Directors on stadium renovation financing
Clifford Chance Madrid advised the Board of Directors on the financing and remodelling of Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. The deal made available 575 million euros in a 30 year period at a fixed interest rate of 2.5%. The Clifford Chance team was led by Partner, and member of the Clifford Chance Sport (Industry) Group, Eduardo Garcia.
12 April 2019
- Clifford Chance Sport (Industry) Group secured a landmark victory on behalf our client VB Football Assets in which a receiver has been appointed to facilitate the sale of several assets including Blackpool Football Club.
18 February 2019
- NPC Malaysia – 2019 World Para Swimming Championships
Rory Scott and James Cranston advised the International Paralympic Committee on its decision to move the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships from Malaysia to London after the Home Ministry of Malaysia failed to guarantee that Israeli para swimmers would safe to participate free from discrimination
27 January 2019
- Clifford Chance Sport (Industry) Group advised longstanding client the International Paralympic Committee on entering into a partnership agreement with Citigroup to become an international partner though 2020 and support National Paralympic Committees in 18 countries. The Clifford Chance team advising the IPC included London corporate – Telecoms, Media and Technology Associate Midori Takenaka and Senior Associate and Sports (Industry) Group Associate Lead James Cranston.
13 December 2018
- Clifford Chance acted for the Pakistan Cricket Board in the first dispute brought in front of the International Cricket Council's Dispute Resolution Committee. The PCB filed a notice of dispute against the Board of Control for Cricket in India after it did not participate in bilateral test cricket series. A three day hearing took place at the ICC's headquarters in Dubai in front of a Panel consisting of Michael Beloff QC, Dr Annabelle Bennett AO SC and Jan Paulsson. Read the Panel's decision.
20 November 2018
- Clifford Chance Sport (Industry) Group advised longstanding client KSE on its purchase of Arsenal Shareholder Alisher Usmanov's stake in Arsenal Football Club. KSE is now the sole owner of the Club. Clifford Chance Partner, Tim Lewis, led the team advising KSE.
7 August 2018
- Clifford Chance Associate, and Member of the firm's Sport (Industry) Group, Roy Appiah acted for Meseret Taye after an in competition test at the Cape Town Marathon identified the presence of testosterone and its metabolites, consistent with an exogenous origin. After the exchange of submissions, and on the eve of the hearing, new evidence came to light that resulted in Ms Taye agreeing to the relief sought by the AIU and a four year period of ineligibility. Clifford Chance acted pro bono through the Sport Resolutions pro bono panel. Read the Decision here.
23 May 2018
- Clifford Chance Sport (Industry) Group secured a victory in the Court of Appeal on behalf of the minority shareholder in Blackpool Football Club. The appeal of the judgment of Moulder J, also in Clifford Chance's client's favour, related to the interpretation of a clause allowing for the deduction of expenditure before profits were distributed under a joint venture agreement to develop the Club's stadium. Clifford Chance Partner and head of the firm's Sport (Industry) Group Chris Yates led the team, which included Senior Associate James Cranston and Associate Emma Mack. Read the Court of Appeal's judgment.
12 April 2018
- Clifford Chance Senior Associate, and Associate Lead of the firm's Sport (Industry) Group, James Cranston acted for tennis player Adrian Barbu following a positive test for prohibited substances nandrolone and methenolone. Following submissions and the exchange of expert and factual evidence, the parties agreed a suspension of two years from the date of his provisional suspension. Clifford Chance acted pro bono through the Sport Resolutions pro bono panel. James was assisted by another member of the firm's Sport (Industry) Group, Associate Rory Scott. Read the Decision here.
14 February 2018
- Clifford Chance Sport (Industry) Group secured a victory on behalf of the minority shareholder in Blackpool Football Club in an unfair prejudice dispute brought against the majority shareholder and its two directors.
6 November 2017
- Following a victory in the Manchester High Court on behalf of the minority shareholder in Blackpool Football Club, Clifford Chance Partner and head of the Sport (Industry) Group, Chris Yates, was selected as the Times news paper's "Lawyer of the Week". Read the article here.
9 March 2017
- Clifford Chance Sport (Industry) Group secured a victory on behalf of the minority shareholder in Blackpool Football Club in a dispute over the correct interpretation of the profit sharing arrangements under a joint venture agreement to re-develop the Club's stadium. The case was heard in the Manchester District Registry and the team included head of the firm's Sport (Industry) Group Chris Yates, Senior Associate and Sport (Industry) Group Associate Lead James Cranston and Associate Emma Mack.
24 February 2017
- Clifford Chance Sport (Industry) Group advised Fox Networks Group on a landmark media rights deal in African football to organise a series of regional football tournaments. The team was led by Daniel Sandelson, Mark Comber and Jennifer Mbaluto.
4 January 2017
- Clifford Chance Partner, and member of the firm's Sport (Industry) Group has been advising UEFA President Michel Platini in proceedings in front of FIFA's Ethics Committee and an appeal to the court of Arbitration for Sport.
11 December 2015
- Clifford Chance advises the Ligue de Football Professionnel on the sale of its television rights for the 2016-2020 season. The team was led by partners Yves Wehrli and Charles-Henri Boeringer.
8 April 2014
- Clifford Chance Partner Simon Davis, alongside Adam Lewis QC, advised tennis player Richard Gasquet in his successful appeal of an anti-doping ban. The case related to a failed test for cocaine metabolites that was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
17 December 2009