Supporting our clients’ sporting successes.
Whether it’s complex M&A transactions, disputes or regulatory advice, we provide clients with everything they need on their most important matters when operating in the sports industry.
We also advise on compliance, investigations, financings and key employment matters. In addition, we have experience with rights commercialisation in broadcasting, licensing and sponsorship deals and on content distribution, including over-the-top (OTT) services.
As you can see under ‘client successes’ below, we have advised on:
- the most transformational transactions in the sports sector;
- more than 100 arbitrations before specialist sports tribunals, including the Court of Arbitration for Sport; and
- key mandates for major sports bodies, sporting organisations and other leading players in the industry.
Our broad client base has given us an extensive understanding of the issues and challenges in the sector from a diverse range of client perspectives.
For top-tier professional sports organisations, we can offer the in-house business experience of partners such as Chris Mort, who has served as Newcastle United’s executive chairman in the English Premier League. In Rhodri Thomas and Amani Khalifa, we have arbitrators who have served on numerous sports arbitrations.
Freshfields advises CVC Fund VII on its strategic investment in Six Nations Rugby
We advised CVC Fund VII (‘CVC’), part of one of the world’s leading private equity and investment advisory firms, on its long-term strategic investment in Six Nations Rugby, the official organising body of the Six Nations Championship and Autumn Internationals. Read more in our press release.
CVC Capital Partners on its participation with volleyball’s international governing body in Volleyball World, a partnership to drive innovation, growth and investment in the sport around the world
Volleyball World will be responsible for the commercial operation of key volleyball and beach volleyball international events, including: the World Championships, Olympic Qualifiers and the Volleyball Nations League. The partnership will focus on event hosting, fan experience, media, data/digital opportunities, and sponsorship to grow commercial revenues for reinvestment.
The acquisitions and disposals of numerous English Premier League football clubs, such as the most recent changes of ownership at Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle United and West Ham United.
We also have equivalent experience on the acquisitions and disposals of football clubs in many other European leagues.
A football club on its successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
We helped the club successfully overturn a ban imposed by an international football association body for its alleged breaches of the financial fair play regulations.
An international sports broadcaster on its position opposite every major sports rightsholder worldwide following the onset of COVID-19.
The work included advising on contractual renegotiations and resolving disputes arising from the cancellation of sporting events as a result of the pandemic.
Formula One Administration, the commercial arranger of F1 motor racing across the globe, on numerous matters.
These include commercial advice, defending FOA from antitrust challenges to its commercial arrangements, new Concorde Agreements with the F1 teams, and advising on the acquisition of the Formula One Group by CVC and the subsequent $8bn sale to Liberty Media.
The German Football Association on a World Cup investigation.
The investigation focussed on the awarding of the 2006 World Cup and helped establish the Association’s transparency framework for investigations.
The International Association of Athletics Federations on a significant internal investigation.
This included a forensic review of its governance, operations and finance.
H.I.G. Capital on the acquisition of Lagardère Sports, a sports marketing business.
London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) as the official legal services provider of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
More than 200 of our lawyers spent time advising the LOCOG on the legal aspects of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Chris Mort Partner
Rhodri Thomas Partner
David Brooks Partner
Richard Lister Partner
Amani Khalifa Counsel
Timothy Harkness Partner
Dr. Martina de Lind van Wijngaarden Partner
Frankfurt am Main
James Kennedy Partner
Geoff Nicholas Partner
Our latest blog posts on Sport
Determined not to tumble: British Gymnastics' trade mark dispute and IP protections for sports properties
The UK’s national governing body for gymnastics, British Gymnastics, was successful this summer in its trade mark infringement and passing off claims against a breakaway rival company under the brand…