Sport, Media and Entertainment Law

St John’s Buildings’ Sport, Media and Entertainment team combines industry specific knowledge with expertise across a wide variety of legal specialisms. Ranging from QCs to more junior members, our Sport, Media and Entertainment team is able to call upon the expertise that is needed in any given situation.

Whilst many of the issues that the team deals with relate to high profile individuals and disputes, members recognise that confidentiality and discretion are paramount when dealing with these types of matters.

 

SPORT

The type of work undertaken includes:

  • Contractual negotiations and disputes
  • Commercial agreements – including funding, merchandising and sponsorship
  • Corporate matters including takeovers, public offerings, debt restructuring and bankruptcy, or the securing and structuring of credit
  • Criminal prosecutions and defence
  • Defamation – including privacy and defamation
  • Divorces – dealing with high profile and high value matrimonial matters
  • Disciplinary and regulatory proceedings before national and international governing bodies
  • Discrimination
  • Drugs in sport – advising on compliance with World Anti-Doping Agency regulations and the consequences of breach
  • Employment disputes – in the High Court, Employment Tribunal and before arbitration panels
  • Gambling – advising clubs and players on their duties under match-fixing regulations
  • Image Rights – sale and protection
  • Injunctions – against governing body decisions and to prevent unlawful dismissal
  • Insolvency matters
  • Intellectual property – establishing rights and prosecuting infringements
  • Immigration and the right to work in the UK
  • Licencing issues
  • Personal injury – competitors being injured as consequence of negligence by governing bodies, referees, other competitors etc.
  • Player transfers – negotiating and drafting contractual terms
  • Restraint of Trade
  • Reputation management
  • Sales of Goods Act disputes in relation to the sale of horses
  • Taxation

 

Recent cases include:

  • UKAD v Graham – one of the first anti-doping cases to be decided under the WADA 2015 code
  • Advising on the sale of a Premier League club
  • Advising a French international football player on his image rights agreement and its interaction with the Premier League contract and other global sponsorship agreements
  • Representing a talented tennis player in a claim alleging discrimination, harassment and victimisation against the Lawn Tennis Association
  • Drafting appearance agreements for use by events seeking to secure attendance of sportspersons
  • Representing the Amateur Swimming Association in ASA v G, a matter involving a match official being abused by a coach
  • Advising sponsors when entering commercial partnership agreements with clubs and dealing with disputes when they have arisen
  • Advising Oldham Athletic FC on contractual issues surrounding the possible signing of Ched Evans
  • Drafting an agency agreement for use by a World Champion boxer
  • Advising an English international footballer on the enforceability of a contract he had entered with a sports agency
  • Representing a child who was excluded from a sports club because of his disability
  • Represented a Championship level rugby club in a claim in which their first-team coach alleged that he had been dismissed in breach of contract
  • Advising commercial enterprises on the use of player image rights (soft IP)
  • Providing guidance to a fans group who wished to challenge the standard terms and conditions imposed on season ticket holders at a Premier League football club
  • Advising a professional football club on player contracts in light of the FIFA ‘Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players’ and the ‘Agreement regarding the minimum requirements for standard player contracts in the professional football sector in the European Union and the rest of the UEFA territory’
  • Providing guidance to agents on how to arrange sponsorship deals so as to maximise the value of their players’ image rights across multiple global regions
  • Advising a professional football coach as to whether his media work could amount to a breach of his contract of employment
  • Advising a ‘fans group’ on their buy-out of a football club in administration. This included advising on the purchase of items that vested with the Crown; drafting a new constitution; and providing guidance on the terms and conditions of player contracts
  • Dealing with a minority shareholder dispute in relation to a company that owned a race course
  • Advising a Championship level football coach on the form and content of his contract
  • Representing clubs and players who were subject to disciplinary action before the RFU, WRU, FA and FAW

 

MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT

Examples of work undertaken include:

  • Advertising and marketing compliance with legislation or regulatory codes set out by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), FCA and Ofcom
  • Advising recording companies, independent labels and talent (record producers, songwriters and artists)
  • Advising on contracts, such as those between labels and bands, or between labels and third parties
  • Banking and lending transactions – advising on financing and funding agreements
  • Contractual negotiations and disputes
  • Commercial agreements – including funding, merchandising, rights and sponsorship
  • Contentious and non-contentious copyright and trade mark advice relating to music, image rights and merchandising
  • Corporate matters including takeovers, public offerings, debt restructuring and bankruptcy, or the securing and structuring of credit
  • Criminal prosecutions and defence
  • Defamation – including privacy and injunctions
  • Divorces – dealing with high profile and high value matrimonial matters
  • Discrimination
  • Image Rights – assisting performers to negotiate ancillary contracts and negotiate distribution and worldwide rights
  • Insolvency matters
  • Intellectual property – establishing rights and prosecuting infringements
  • Immigration and the right to work in the UK
  • Licencing and rights issues
  • Personal injury claims
  • Prosecuting and defending claims concerning allegations that work has infringed regulations or the rights of third parties
  • Restraint of Trade
  • Reputation management
  • Taxation