We provide expert advice to professional and amateur sports clubs as well as to professional sports men and women.

Group contact

Ian Wood-Smith

Ian Wood-Smith

Each member of the sports group has specific experience and knowledge of working in the sports industry. We can provide advice across a broad range of legal areas, ensuring that we are uniquely placed to respond immediately to our clients’ legal and commercial needs.

The sports group is led by Ian Wood-Smith. Ian has a substantial amount of experience in advising the sports industry and was a director of Reading Football Club for many years.

Our team provides advice to a range of sporting bodies from Premiership football clubs through to leading sporting individuals and amateur sporting bodies.  Our expertise is recognised by prominent regulatory bodies, as a preferred legal adviser to members of the Professional Cricketers Association and through our attendance at FA disciplinary hearings. Our experience is also recognised in Legal 500 having been ranked in tier one in 2016 and 2017.

The group can assist with:

  • constitutional documents for professional and amateur clubs
  • sponsorship, endorsement and merchandising agreements
  • commercial contracts, including expertise in supply contracts, agency agreements and franchise arrangements
  • employment issues, including player and senior management contracts and litigation
  • management of property, including lease and property disputes and specialist knowledge in stadium construction
  • sports related corporate transactions
  • disciplinary proceedings before regulatory bodies
  • lottery funded redevelopments of sports grounds
  • protection of intellectual property, including trade mark applications
  • regulatory and licensing issues
  • dispute resolution either via mediation or the courts
  • tax and charitable status advice

What clients have said about the sports team:

"FSP have supported me over the last three years in creating and developing of a number of sports charities. In this time, the environment for volunteer led sports organisations has changed radically under austerity. Those that survive and prosper have had to look at their legal status, their methods of operating and how they involve stakeholders.

The team at FSP understand these pressures and have helped considerably to manage the necessary changes. Understanding the legal process is one thing, having empathy, tolerance and understanding of the significance of change for a volunteer organisations is another. They are very good at it."

J Bolan, Falkland Cricket Club