Bates Wells Braithwaite receives ‘nothing but praise’ for its ‘excellent level of service’, particularly in the firm’s specialism of sports charity work.”
Legal 500 2015

The practice goes above and beyond expectations."
Legal 500 2017

The sports team offers a coordinated and streamlined service to ensure that the best possible advice is given to a broad mix of clients.

We are recommended as a leading practice in the Legal 500 and Chambers UK legal directories and are delighted to have been selected as part of the Legal Panel Framework for National Governing Bodies.

We are innovators in the sector and initiated the CASC, which has significantly reduced the tax burden for amateur clubs.

Above all, we are sensitive to what motivates and drives people in the world of sport, so we can ensure that our advice focuses on the current issues you are facing, while always bearing in mind any long-term ramifications.

Our Clients

We act for international federations, national governing bodies, teams, sports producers and event companies, amateur clubs, individual sports stars and their agents. BWB advises sports at all levels of development, from grass roots initiatives, to the World Class Programme and preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

Our Services

We set out below our tailored services for the following clients: 

  • National Governing Bodies
  • Grassroots sports - Clubs, Charities and CASCs
  • Commercial Exploitation of Sports Rights - Clubs, Sports Producers, Events Companies
  • Individual Sports Men and Women

National Governing Bodies

BWB is delighted to have been selected as part of the Legal Panel Framework for NGBs.

More information about the panel is available on the Sport England website.

Legal Panel Framework  logo images

BWB advises its many NGB clients on all aspects of their work. The role of NGBs is multifaceted and we pride ourselves on helping our clients to cut through red tape to help them to be as effective as possible.

Areas of advice include:

  • Governance and restructuring
  • Player and team selection
  • Safeguarding and CRB
  • Data protection
  • Helping you with advice to member clubs
  • Charitable status and setting up associated charitable foundations
  • Intellectual property rights advising on brand management and endorsement
  • Sponsorship and event management
  • Immigrations issues, including work permits
  • Contracts
  • Employment matters and managing volunteers
  • Dispute resolution in the courts and sports dispute resolution forums including the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Switzerland
  • Advising on grants, loans and funding capital projects, including taking security over funded facilities
  • Advising on receipt and use of funding from Sport England and other statutory funders

Grassroots Sports – Clubs, Charities and CASCs

The BWB team is passionate about the grassroots game.

Andrew Philips, the firm’s founder, campaigned for the introduction of tax relief for amateur clubs, which became the CASC scheme. Thea Longley and Augustus Della Porta have continued this work, lobbying HMRC and the Charity Commission on behalf of sport to try to make charitable registration easier for clubs.

We have set up and continue to advise many charities that operate in sports and leisure, from larger charities such as the Football Foundation to smaller start ups like the Gipsy Moth Trust. 

Our advice includes:

  • Charity formation and registration with the Charity Commission
  • Advising clubs on governance, incorporation and status options – e.g. CASC or charitable status
  • Advising on funding issues
  • Brand protection and exploitation
  • Advising on grant-making procedures and documentation
  • Purchasing, developing and financing facilities

Commercial Exploitation of Sports Rights - Clubs, Sports Producers and Events Companies

The BWB team advises organisations across the broad spectrum of professional sport. Areas of advice include:

Commercial Matters

  • Image rights for both clubs generally and individual athletes
  • Commercial media - advising broadcasters and rights holders
  • Intellectual property rights ­ advising on exploitation and protection
  • Branding and product endorsement
  • Sponsorship and advertising
  • Merchandising and licensing
  • Event Management
  • Sports funding arrangements
  • Employment matters
  • Work permit applications and immigration related advice

Other Areas

  • Dispute resolution in the courts and sports dispute resolution forums, including the Court of Arbitration for Sort in Switzerland
  • Corporate matters generally including mergers and acquisitions, shareholder issues, insolvency and restructuring
  • Dispute resolution

Individual Sports Men and Women

The BWB team acts for professional and amateur sports men and women. We can advise on:

  • Employment issues
  • Immigration and work permits
  • Contractual issues
  • Challenging selection or non-selection
  • Disciplinary procedures
  • Setting up charitable foundations for professional sports stars to focus their charitable giving

Key guides 

Immigration routes avaible to non-EEA/Coatian sportspersons who wish to come to the UK. 

Available to download for free here 

Contact the Sports team >

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