As part of my role within the Commercial Department I deal with numerous sports related issues on behalf of professional athletes – predominantly Rugby League players. As a firm we are very supportive of our local Rugby League clubs at both amateur and professional level and have sponsored St Helens RLFC since the firm began 10 years ago.When my career as a professional Rugby League player ended and my legal career began I was fortunate enough to work for a law firm in Leeds that specialised in sports law. During my time there I assisted representing athletes, agents and clubs on a whole manner of high profile cases.
Throughout my career I have successfully acted for players, who have had their careers cut short as a result of injuries inflicted by opponents, settled numerous contractual disputes and have been involved in anti-doping matters.
Due to the high profile nature of acting on behalf of sports clients there is naturally a degree of interest from the media that follows. We all know how the press can have selective hearing at times so you have to be on your guard to ensure that you protect your client in the best way possible and without breaching any confidences. You've certainly got to have a sympathetic and understanding approach to some matters, especially doping cases, as athletes can make the same mistakes as "Joe Public" except their mistakes make the news!
I don't necessarily think there truly is such a thing as "sport law" per se as the laws of contract, tort and employment are mainly applicable in the same way as any other case. It is simply the nature and context of the client and surrounding issues that bring the "sports" tag with it.
It is a privilege to be able to act on behalf of athletes as the area of sports law can be a difficult one to break in to as it can often be seen as a closed shop. Due to my background it's been a natural fit for me to be involved in this area of work and it certainly helps being able to relate to sports clients having sat at the other side of the table myself!
Written by Andrew Bailey- Trainee Legal Executive
For specialist sport advice from our sports solicitors please contact Andrew Bailey on 08000 111 303 or visit our website www.hattonslaw.com