Enforcement of rules

Disciplinary and other internal proceedings

We advise on the drafting, implementation and enforcement of a wide variety of disciplinary codes and internal dispute resolution mechanisms, and we have years of experience advising on the resolution of such disputes. Members of our sports team appear regularly as advocates on behalf of our clients before the hearing panels and tribunals of various federations and event organisers, and before international arbitral bodies, including the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. We have acted in some of the biggest sports disciplinary cases domestically and internationally. To our knowledge, we are the only UK firm that can credibly offer a ‘one stop shop’ for advisory and advocacy services in respect of all kinds of sports disciplinary/internal dispute cases.

We assist our clients in achieving the following key aims and objectives, among others:

  • developing disciplinary rules that are clear, fair and consistent, so that they are simple to interpret and enforce;
  • ensuring that disciplinary rules are updated in a timely fashion in response to sporting, technical and legal developments;
  • ensuring that sanctions for violations of the rules are proportionate and comply with applicable laws (both domestic and international, and sporting and non-sporting); and
  • providing efficient procedures for enforcement and appeals, ensuring rules can be applied robustly and consistently.

Case studies

The Football League: We regularly advise the English Football League on the application of its competition rules, in the context of internal and disciplinary proceedings. For example, we have acted for the EFL on several matters arising from the Owners’ and Directors’ Test, and also represented the EFL in its successful defence of Wigan FC’s appeal against a sporting sanction for going into administration near the end of season 2019/20, click here for more information.

Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI): We conducted an investigation on behalf of the FEI into the failure by the UAE member federation to apply the new 2020 FEI Endurance Rules to two showpiece events, presented our findings to the FEI Board, and then successfully defended the FEI Board’s decision to suspend the UAE federation from membership and impose fines on the event organisers when the UAE federation appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn those sanctions, click here for more information.

Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA): We have successfully represented the FIA in multiple proceedings before the FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris, where teams in Formula One and other FIA Championships have pursued protests and/or sought to overturn points penalties, disqualification, fines and other sanctions imposed on them by FIA stewards. 

Key Contacts

Jonathan Taylor, Max Duthie


Market-leading group of specialist lawyers instructed on the most complex and high-profile regulatory matters in world sport, including disputes and compliance.”

chambers, 2020