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At Ward Hadaway, we understand the dedication and passion that sport teams and club owners have.

With a dedicated focus on the unique challenges and opportunities faced by sports organisations, our experienced team of sports lawyers is here to safeguard your interests, enhance your success, and ensure compliance with the intricate domestic and international regulations that often govern sports.

Over the years, we have successfully represented numerous sports teams and club owners, helping them navigate legal complexities and achieve their desired outcomes. Our track record speaks to our commitment to delivering results and protecting your interests.

From contract negotiation and drafting, intellectual property protection and governance to dispute resolution, regulatory investigations and acquisitions, our legal advice covers a wide spectrum, providing you with a one-stop solution.

Ward Hadaway is here to be your partner, providing you with the legal expertise and support you need to achieve your Club’s goals.

Work we have done
  • Advising Leeds United and its then Manager, Marcelo Bielsa, on regulatory investigations by the FA and EFL in relation to so called “Spygate “.  Negotiated direct with both FA and EFL to reach an EFL Agreed Decision which protected both clients.
  • Advising on the acquisition of a North East football club.
  • Acting for Crystal Palace Football Club in respect of a number of development projects and stadium renovations.
  • Advising a Championship football club regarding an 8 figure claim against another Club based on EFL Profit & Sustainability (‘Financial Fair Play’) Rules.
  • Advised Premier League, Championship and League 2 Clubs on multiple legal and commercial consequences of COVID 19 pandemic, such as the mooted curtailment of the season and potential effects on promotion/relegation, player wage deferral negotiations and, business interruption insurance claims.
  • Advising Premier League and EFL Clubs on compliance with Financial Fair Play Rules generally.
  • Acting for Sheffield United Football Club to put in place construction contracts for ground and facility renovations required upon promotion in order to comply with the Premier League regulations.
  • Acting for Leeds United in drafting and negotiating the full suite of construction contracts for the re cladding and hospitality works undertaken to the East Stand.
  • Acting for a North East Championship Football Club in relation to a contract dispute with Diadora relating to claims arising out of Diadora’s supply of branded replica kits and sportswear.
  • Advising Premier League and EFL Clubs on disputes with pitch suppliers and installers.
  • Advising Clubs on the disciplinary and dismissal of various professional footballers and coaches.
  • Acting for a North East rugby club on a dispute with a global sporting brand.
  • Acting for a football club in relation to its application to become a charity.
  • Acting for a Premiership Rugby Club on negotiation of sponsorship and kit agreements
  • Registration and management of trade mark registrations for a Premiership Rugby Club.
  • The development and extension of top class facilities at well-known racecourses
  • Advising multiple professional football clubs on premier league and football league standard contracts for players and coaches.
  • Advising a professional road cycling team on sponsorship deals and disputes with its bike manufacturer.
  • Advising a local greyhound race track on a media rights agreement for broadcast of races
  • Represented Newcastle United at Premier League proceedings regarding Club legend Peter Beardsley
  • Acting for Scarborough FC in relation to sponsorship agreements, FA disciplinary matters, internal investment arrangements

Contact a specialist

Ian McCombie

Partner | Commercial Litigation

+44 (0) 330 137 3316

+44 (0)7720 295 270

Email Ian McCombie

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Paul Scope

Partner | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3167

+44 (0)754 055 6295

Email Paul Scope

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Matthew Cormack

Partner | Commercial

+44 (0) 330 137 3412

+44 (0)773 846 2586

Email Matthew Cormack

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Phil Edmondson

Partner | Commercial Litigation

+44 (0) 330 137 3330

+44 (0) 789 498 7648

Email Phil

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What people say

  • Phil was recommended to us when we had issues with a sports body. He was very clear, personable and knowledgeable about a range of issues. Phil always presented a variety of options and the potential effect - this enabled us to have an idea of costs and exactly which actions to take. We felt he cared about us as clients and was both realistic and reassuring throughout.

    Lisa Houghton-Smith (Muay Thai Double World Champion) and Richard Smith (European Champion and coach to 10 world champions). Bad Company Gym.
  • Having served as an active Non-Executive Director of British Weightlifting since July 2020, I have found Phil to be an integral part of the leadership team through his invaluable legal counsel on commercial and sports litigation and sports regulations. Phil prides himself on his attention to detail and his overall professionalism. At the same time, his ethics are beyond reproach.

    Matthew Curtain, Chief Executive Officer, British Weightlifting
  • Phil has helped us and Leeds United for several years, with issues large and small. He is really passionate about his work and this shines through in how he cares for our interests and his strategic guidance. Phil just gets what is needed for players and Clubs in the difficult world of football.

    Kalvin Phillips, Midfielder for Manchester City & England
  • I had the opportunity to work with Phil on a novel issue involving claims among professional sports teams. As an owner of one of the teams and a long-term litigator in the US, I really appreciated his ability to understand the goals, identify the issues, and work together to develop a successful plan that produced an excellent result for my company. While I hope to have no further sports litigation issues, if I do, Phil will be my first call.

    Rob Couhig, Chairman, Wycombe Wanderers Football Club

What we're thinking