In the world of professional sport, where there is so much emphasis and media coverage of the commercial picture, it is easy to overlook that sports people such as players, coaches and other key talent are employees as well, and therefore are subject to the same obligations and entitled to the same protections as "regular" employees. It is important for our clients to ensure that HR legal issues (including business and sports immigration) are properly addressed across all aspects of business in sport.
Our employment sports law specialists support our sports sector clients - such as clubs, players, governing bodies etc. - with the regular and standard day-today employment and HR queries for the employees within their offices, but we also help clients with more niche requests that are specific to the sports industry. We assist our clients in achieving the following key aims and objectives, among others:
General business employment support:
Employment support for players, coaches, and key talents within sport:
Johanna Konta: We started working with Johanna when she was a junior tennis player who had recently relocated to the UK with the aim of representing Team GB. We advised on how to keep her absences from the UK (for example, warm weather training and tournaments) within acceptable limits for settlement purposes and on all other immigration preparatory steps for a citizenship application. We submitted Johanna’s application to be naturalised as a British citizen and liaised with the Home Office to expedite processing in order that Johanna could obtain a British passport in time to represent Team GB at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships.
British & Irish Lions: We advised the British and Irish Lions on the appointment of Warren Gatland as Head Coach of the Lions tour of South Africa in 2021. This involved managing the inter-relationship between “pure” employment law and the particular terms relating to the organisation and management of a professional rugby team as well as wider sports/commercial terms such as image rights and publicity. We also prepared the contracts for a number of other senior employees for the Tour and have advised on employment law issues relating to the potential impact of Covid-19 on the Tour.