New Dawn for Sports Governance

With £1 Billion invested in sport over the last four years and nearly 16 million adults playing sport, sport is ever more important to the fabric of British society. Against this background, the Government has launched its new Code for Sports Governance which sets mandatory requirements for receiving funding and government support. The code comes into effect in April 2017 and will require:

  • A dramatic increase in diversity on Boards both in terms of skills and experience and in particular in targeting 30% female representation;
  • Greater transparency with much more information to be made publicly available
  • Reform of traditional models and councils to ensure the Board of Directors is the ultimate decision maker for the governing body

Many smaller governing bodies have reformed in anticipation of the new Code and are well placed to be compliant.

However, some of the larger federations with traditional governance models, often hundreds of years old, are struggling. The FA for example has only one woman on its Board and an, arguably, out dated and undemocratic Council that still retains its role as the ultimate decision making body for the FA. Unless they reform, their multi million annual investment from Sport England is in jeopardy. Perhaps more importantly, given their wealth, would be the withdrawal of government support which could mean no more fast track visas for players and visiting teams, no more collaboration on bids for international tournaments and a host of other unintended consequences.

It is perhaps the less tangible non-financial government support that might persuade the “old guard” that modernising governance in accordance with the Government’s requirements is not meddling but simply good practice in the 21st Century.

Onside Law ranked as a top UK sports firm

Onside Law is delighted to be ranked as one of the top sports firms in the country by Chambers & Partners 2017. The latest publication describes us as a ‘highly regarded ensemble of specialist sports law advisers’, along with being ‘valued for their commercial nous on a host of non-contentious sports matters along with a steadily expanding disputes and regulatory practice.  Click here to view the ranking.

Human Race acquired by Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O)

Onside Law advised mass participation sports events business Human Race on its acquisition by Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O) – the market-leading sports events company and organiser of the world famous cycling event Le Tour de France.

Onside Law has advised the Human Race Group (formerly Participate Sport) since it began, during which it has grown into the largest mass participation events company in the UK, operating events such as the Windsor Triathlon, London Winter Run, Etape Cymru and the prestigious cycling sportive, the Dragon Ride. More recently Human Race helped launch VitalityMove a collaboration between Jessica Ennis-Hill and Vitality.

Onside Law’s corporate team of Simon Thorp (Partner), Jamie Goldberg (Partner) and Leon Farr (Associate) advised on the transaction which brings together two of the sports events industry’s leading players.

Dispute Resolution Lawyer needed – 1-3 PQE

Onside Law is a market-leading specialist sports law firm with a head office in London.

Our clients are some of the biggest names in sport, including many of the leading national and international governing bodies, broadcasters, clubs, sponsors, investors and high profile individuals.

Our practice is thriving and we are seeking to bolster our team by recruiting a 1-3 PQE Dispute Resolution lawyer who:

  • will be required to work on a variety of contentious and regulatory matters in the sports, media and wider commercial sectors;
  • must have strong legal skills, training and academics; and
  • must be a confident team player.

Applicants are asked to submit a cover letter and CV by email to zoe.fitt@onsidelaw.co.uk by no later than Friday, 16 December 2016.

Onside Law tees up for the Ryder Cup   

Onside Law is playing an important part in the Ryder Cup that takes place this week at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.  Partner Oliver Hunt has travelled with the team as Ryder Cup Europe’s legal representative. Oliver will be on hand to deal with any legal issues that affect the team and handle Ryder Cup Europe’s commercial programme.  Oliver said: “It is a great privilege to be part of the Ryder Cup Europe team”.  The assignment has come off the back of Onside Law advising Ryder Cup Europe last year on its bidding process for the 2022 Ryder Cup Match and its Host Nation contract with the winners, Italy.   Oliver has also been spending three days a week at the European Tour’s offices in Wentworth supporting the new General Counsel, Susan Gordon.    

Onside Law advises The Join In Trust

Onside Law has advised The Join In Trust on its collaboration with ITV on the “I Am Team GB” initiative, which took place shortly before the Paralympic Games kicked off in Rio de Janeiro. The event, in which thousands of sports clubs opened their doors for the UK’s “largest ever sports day”, saw ITV switch off all seven of its channels for the first time in its history to encourage viewers to get outside and get active. Onside Law’s Jamie Singer (Partner) and Leon Farr (Associate) advised Join In – an Olympic and Paralympic legacy charity focused on volunteering in sport – on all aspects of its role providing major organisational support to the initiative, which was also supported by the National Lottery and the British Olympic Association.  Olympic heroes including Greg Rutherford, Max Whitlock and Dame Kelly Holmes took part in events across the UK, ranging from London 2012 Olympic venues to local sports clubs.