Sports

Littleton is ranked in band 2 for sports law in the legal directories. The Sports Law Group has particular expertise in employment, commercial and disciplinary/regulatory sports litigation.

Members appear before specialist sporting bodies, such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport, FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and Player Status Committee, the FA arbitration and disciplinary panels, the Premier League arbitration panels, and the RFU disciplinary panels.  Sports-related cases have also been fought before the High Court and the Employment Tribunal.

John Mehrzad and Katherine Apps were appointed as pro bono advocates for the London 2012 Olympics, appearing before ad hoc sittings of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Chambers contributes fortnightly blogs for www.LawInSport.com, articles in the "World Sports Law Report" and provides speakers for conferences and inhouse talks. 

The Littleton Sports Group produces a regular bulletin, On Sport, dealing with topical issues in the world of sport.

Instructions have involved, amongst others, the following football teams: Manchester United FC, Manchester City FC, Liverpool FC, Chelsea FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Newcastle United FC, QPR FC, West Ham United FC, Wigan Athletic FC, Leeds United FC, Cardiff City FC, Middlesbrough FC, Crystal Palace FC and Sheffield Wednesday FC.

Players and managers including Rafa Benitez, mark Hughes, Steve Kean, Neil Warnock, Luis Suarez, Joey Barton, Dave Jones, Paul Hart, Steve Bruce and Ian Dowie, and several agents, agencies and overseas companies have also been represented.

Other well-known sporting clients include a member of the Pakistan International Cricket Team involved in the “spot-fixing” scandal, Phil “the Power” Taylor, Andy “the Viking” Fordham, the Amateur Boxing Association, and the Jockey Club.

Members have also been involved in cases concerning rugby union, rugby league, formula one, horse-racing, boxing, golf, darts and athletics.

Key cases include:

  • Allardyce v Blackburn Rovers & Kean Defamation action brought by former manager of Blackburn against a subsequent manager and former club.

  • Sundew v Middlesbrough FC; Willowshire v Middlesbrough FC (2011) (QBD): Breach of contract  claims related to image and economic rights agreements.

  • Rinaldi v Rugby Football League (2010): Highly publicised litigation concerning the Rugby Football League’s overseas players “quota” system (settled prior to hearing)

  • Smith v Chelsea Football Club [2010] All ER (D) 205: Dismissal of Chelsea FC’s senior executive

  • Dwain Chambers v British Olympic Association [2008] EWHC 2028 (QB): Sprinter Dwain Chambers’ challenge to rules preventing him from running in the 2008 Beijing Olympics

  • Ferrari SPA v M and T Coughlan (2007) (ChD): Breach of confidence/damages proceedings brought against leading designer by Ferrari F1 team (settled prior to hearing) 

  • Doane v MK Dons and others (2007): Vicarious liability for injury sustained in a football tackle transfers under TUPE

  • Bradley v The Jockey Club [2005] EWCA Civ 1056: Landmark case on the routes and standard of review available for challenging sports regulatory bodies

  • Crystal Palace FC (2000) v. Bruce [2007] IRLR 682: Termination of football management contract and injunction preventing him joining rival team