Sports Law Barristers - Matrix Chambers
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Sports Law

Sports Law

Barristers in Matrix’s sports law team are involved in a diverse range of high profile and complex sports law cases. We offer expertise in all areas of sports related disputes.

In the field of sports law our members work in a variety of dispute resolution forums, including disciplinary tribunals and arbitrations.

Our clients include international governing bodies, professional clubs, managers and players, players’ unions, sports associations, broadcasters, and individual athletes.

Arbitration expertise

Matrix members regularly appear as counsel and arbitrators in sports arbitrations, both domestically and internationally. This includes:

  • Arbitrations under Rule K of the FA Rules and section 9 of the EFL Regulations.
  • Hearings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (including as ad hoc clerk to the Tribunal).
  • Proceedings in the Basketball Arbitration Tribunal.

Notable CAS cases in which Matrix members have been involved include the following:

  • Legkov, Kubkov & 37 other Russian athletes v International Olympic Committee, concerning alleged systematic and state-sponsored doping, sample tampering and sample swapping during the Sochi Winter Olympics.
  • Dutee Chand v International Associations of Athletics Federations, concerning a challenge to the IAAF’s regulations governing the eligibility of female athletes with hyperandrogenism to compete in female athletics events.
  • Caster Semenya v IAAF, concerning a challenge to the IAAF’s regulations concerning female athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD).
  • Blake Leeper v World Athletics, concerning the lawfulness of World Athletics’ rules which regulate and restrict the use of prosthetic running aids by disabled athletes in elite international athletics, including the Olympic Games.

Anti-doping, disciplinary and other sports law disputes

Matrix members have expertise in anti-doping and disciplinary cases, as well as selection disputes. We have a number of members who are appointed by Sport Resolutions to adjudicate upon a variety of sports law disputes. In addition, Matrix members are appointed to sit on panels for the Football Association, the Rugby Football Union, World Athletics and the Tennis Integrity Unit.

Matrix members also provide advice and representation to individual athletes via the Sport Resolutions pro bono advocates panel.

Investigation expertise

Our Investigations and Audits team have worked in cases relating to sporting organisations. One of our members led the investigation and the subsequent report into individuals whose conduct was alleged to be in breach of the International Association of Athletics Federations Code of Ethics.

Notable cases

Matrix members have advised and acted in numerous high profile sporting disputes, examples of which include:

  • Representing the boxer Carl Frampton in his claim against his former manager, Barry McGuigan and one of his “Cyclone Promotions” companies.
  • Representing the former President of the Russian Athletics Federation in a disciplinary case involving multiple ‘whereabouts failures’ of an Olympic athlete.
  • Hearing misconduct cases against 12 members of the Barbarians who broke the Covid-19 protocol and caused a match against England to be postponed.
  • Being instructed by UEFA and FIFPro in connection with their Joint Complaint to the European Commission regarding the practice of Third Party Ownership (“TPO”) in football.
  • Representing Queens Park Rangers in its challenge to the Football League’s Financial Fair Play (“FFP”) Regulations.
  • Acting in the dispute between Massimo Cellino (the former Leeds United owner) and the English Football League regarding the application of the fit and proper person test.
  • Acting for the owners of Coventry City FC in the dispute concerning the occupation and use of the Ricoh Arena stadium, including contentious issues of state aid.

Publications

Matrix members contributed several chapters to the leading textbook ‘Football and the Law’ (Bloomsbury Professional). We also contribute articles for the LawInSport website, as well as having a presence on its editorial board.