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If you are seeking expert legal advice and guidance regarding regulatory and governance matters within the sports sector, you've come to the right place.

Ward Hadaway is a leading authority in sports law, dedicated to providing tailored solutions for NGBs, Competitions and participants who play a vital role in ensuring fairness, integrity, and compliance within the sports industry.

We have successfully represented and advised numerous clients in the sports industry, helping them navigate complex regulatory and governance challenges from corporate governance obligations, dispute resolution, disciplinary and compliance issues, rule formation and amendments to compliance strategies, commercial agreements and inquests.

Work we have done
  • Advising NGBs on corporate governance obligations for Sports England funded bodies under the Code for Sports Governance.
  • Advising British Weightlifting (NGB) on matters relating to corporate governance, selection disputes, internal investigations, arbitrations and employment issues.
  • Advice to the Premier League on Board powers, the Owners and Directors Test and other rule changes.
  • Advising England Athletics on restructuring and new constitution/Articles to reflect its changing role in UK Athletics.
  • Advising South of England Athletics in its contractual and regulatory relationship with UK Athletics.
  • Working with a mass participation sports event organiser on creation and negotiation of sponsorship agreements.
  • Advising on various commercial agreement drafting / negotiation for both suppliers and sports clubs, including the FA and a New Zealand rugby club.
  • Acting for various unincorporated associations and clubs in regard to constitutional rules and regulations, and incorporation.
  • Represented Peter Metcalf in the Hillsborough Inquests, 2014-16, by far the longest case ever heard by a jury in British legal history, then in his high profile successful defence of criminal charges, 2017-21. The cases required a deep understanding of the sociology of football and psychology of the football fan in the 1980s and now.

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

Managing Associate | 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

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