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Sports Employment & Immigration

Our employment and immigration lawyers are market leaders, advising clubs, governing bodies and sports agencies on the full range of employment, immigration and disciplinary issues (including classification, selection and anti-doping matters).

We’ve advised on numerous high-profile managerial appointments and exits at both club and international level, and work with clients to ensure contracts with their top talent are future-proofed.

We have in depth knowledge of the issues that matter to sports organisations, from employment status of match day staff to handling litigation and arbitration in front of national and international governing bodies, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. We also provide a great value helpline service for HR teams.

Examples of our recent work include advising:

  • a Premiership rugby union club on the contractual position, negotiation strategy and media strategy for the controversial departure of a player
  • a "Big 4" Premier League club on the appointment of its new manager
  • a Premier League manager on his new contract
  • a Championship football club on the restructuring of its scouting department
  • a Premier League football club on day to day HR matters
  • on the restructuring of the senior management board for a Championship football club and a leading professional sport’s governing body
  • on the secondment of an international rugby coach to the British Lions
  • an international footballer on a dispute with his former club

Related items

UK immigration options for competitive esports players

01 November 2023

The esports industry is rapidly evolving. As a popular host of international competitive events, the UK needs to continue to attract and retain competitive esports players. An esports visa may be in the pipeline, but for now, esports players should be aware of UK’s available immigration routes.

sports q&a

Sports Q&A: Non-competes

19 October 2023

Our Q&A looks at the government's proposal on non-competes and what sports businesses should be doing about this now.

International Sportsperson visa route announced

24 September 2021

The latest Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules includes a new International Sportsperson visa route for professional athletes coming to work in the UK. The route will launch from 9 am on 11 October 2021.

Future of Sport podcast with Alex Kelham and Andrew Osborne: Sports trends you should know about.

26 August 2021

In this first episode of our inaugural series of the Future of Sport podcast, our host JJ Shaw is joined by Alex Kelham and Andrew Osborne – Partners and Co-Heads of the Sports Business group.

office floor

Sam Minshall comments for Sky News, The Telegraph, The Independent and ITV: Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish's sex discrimination case against UK Sport and British Cycling begins

10 December 2018

Sam Minshall has commented in articles for Sky News and The Telegraph which discuss Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish's sex discrimination case against UK Sport and British Cycling.


Sam Minshall comments for Cyclist: Jess Varnish case could lead to ‘wholesale change in the treatment of athletes’

07 December 2018

Sam Minshall has commented in an article for Cyclist which discusses the potential wider implications of the imminent court case for athletes involving track sprinter Jess Varnish, who is arguing her status as an employee rather than self-employed.

Immigration Barriers

Sports Q&A - How might Brexit affect sports immigration?

28 November 2018

As things stand, the UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019. The UK will adopt a new immigration system post-Brexit, under which free movement of European nationals and their family members will cease. There will be a period of transition until the end of 2020, during which free movement will continue, and a new “settlement scheme” will be rolled out for European migrants. Free movement will end completely from January 2021. All British businesses will be affected by these changes. However, Brexit poses some particular challenges to the sports sector.

Lucy Lewis comments for HR Grapevine: Serena Williams Wimbledon return sparks maternity debate

17 July 2018

In an article for HR Grapevine, Lucy Lewis comments on the case of Serena Williams' seeding at this year's Wimbledon tournament and explains that the protection of a women's position at work must be proportionate, in connection with maternity leave, pregnancy or childbirth.

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