SPORTS LAW

Church Court Chambers’ Barristers have developed a niche practice in the rapidly expanding and evolving field of Sports Law advising on all major aspects with a specific focus on Regulatory & Disciplinary Issues and Anti-Corruption within Sport. We advise regularly, professional sports men and women, coaching staff, sports institutions and associated professionals. This covers internal sanctions, human right aspects and criminal investigations.

Our barristers have regularly advised Sports persons on disciplinary matters before the FA, International and Provincial Rugby Union Federations, The Jockey Club, The British Boxing Board of Control, the United Kingdom Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD ), the National Anti-Doping Panel Tribunal and other major sports.

We have assisted in Anti-Corruption issues in major sports organisations and indeed have acted in high profile cases such as Crown Court football match-fixing trials, spread betting on an International Scale, corruption within Horse Racing , Anti-Doping within Professional and Amateur Sports including Professional Boxing. The threat from transnational criminal organisations requires a particular level of expertise, such as the effects of the Bribery Act 2010, illegal gambling within sports, agency mal-feasance, embezzlement and money laundering. Further, we are able to advise in relation to Sports Accident matters including coroners work.

In terms of training and education our barristers this year have reached out to various organisations and clubs, particularly in the field of professional football. In the wake of the recent conviction of high profile footballer Adam Johnson for sexual activity with a child, and also the successful appeal and re-trial of footballer Ched Evans,  football clubs and the PFA are being called upon to introduce programmes of sexual awareness training for those involved in the club both on and off the pitch. Church Court Chambers are keen to offer training sessions and seminars across many areas of the law and are well placed to deliver sessions tailored to the specific needs of individual clubs. We recognise that the challenges faced will differ between regions and at varying levels of the game and thus the information below is just a snapshot of the type of training our barristers are able to provide.

We strongly believe in the importance of education and the implementation of preventative policies and procedures. Training and the application of appropriate protection and safeguarding structures can reduce the risk of dangerous situations arising in the first place and reduce the need for subsequent legal proceedings. Educating those in positions of power, authority or in the public eye to recognise and avoid potentially abusive or inappropriate situations is essential for any organisation. It remains a priority to protect individuals, be they employees, members of the public or players. In addition reputational damage to a sport or business is at stake where organisations fail to take safeguarding seriously and ignore the need to adopt preventative measures.

With the unprecedented growth in social media within the last decade, organisations need to respond quickly and appropriately to comments or allegations concerning the business or its employees. Basic training on potential issues and how to identify and deal with them, including when and how you should engage with media attention in such circumstances is a simple but effective way to mitigate risks.

In recent years the number of allegations of sexual abuse, grooming, and inappropriate sexual behaviour against individuals and organisations in the public eye has increased. We have several barristers who have been involved in such cases (in the criminal, civil and family courts) and whose knowledge of the law in this area is second to none.

Our barristers are also able to provide training on a range of equality and diversity issues from incidents of racism, sexual harassment, to disability access in stadia.