In the professional world of football, the FA have a different set of rules that need to be followed by all participants. Where there are disputes between, for example, the club and its player(s), or player(s) and their agents etc. then this will fall under the FA’s Rule K Arbitration Rules. Where there are disputes between the regulator of the sport or a governing body (such as the FA or the Premier League) and a participant, disciplinary proceedings will be convened under the various rules of the FA, UEFA, FIFA or the relevant leagues.
With these types of disputes, it is crucial to obtain representation from a specialist lawyer to advise and appear (if necessary) at a Tribunal or Arbitration Hearing.
Dan is not only an expert sports lawyer, experienced in drafting proceedings and defences under the FA Rule K Arbitration Rules and disciplinary rules, he is also a compelling and robust advocate, representing clients (whether individuals or clubs or agents) at hearings. Dan has often helped his clients reach a commercial settlement before the proceedings are heard, saving time and costs.
Examples of Rule K Arbitration and other disciplinary matters that Dan has been instructed on include:
- Representing a Championship football club before the Football Disciplinary Commission;
- Representing a Football League manager before the Football Disciplinary Commission;
- Representing a National League club at a FA Hearing who had been expelled from the FA Cup;
- Representing a club who had been charged by the FA with fielding an ineligible player;
- Representing numerous football agents (or FA Registered Intermediaries) in Rule K Arbitration disputes with either clubs or players;
- Representing numerous players in Rule K Arbitration disputes;
- Representing a club in a Rule K Arbitration dispute with an agent;
- Representing a club official at a FA Hearing charged with misconduct;
- Advising numerous clubs and players in response to FA misconduct charges; and
- Represented a professional women’s club in Rule K Arbitration proceedings, successfully defending claims for unpaid fees from an agent.
With the considerable experience that Dan has gained over many years (whether as FA Registered Lawyer pre-2015, FA Registered Intermediary post-2015 or as a sports lawyer throughout), he has worked with youth players rising to the peak of their career, assisting with their transfers to Football League and Premier League clubs, and is currently working with a Premier League Club and a Football League club on regular basis assisting with their transfer and contractual negotiations.
In the summer of 2016, Dan completed a magnificent high-profile transfer for Cohen Bramall, jumping six divisions of football, from Hednesford Town (an Evo-Stik Northern Premier League club) to Arsenal, in the Premier League. This was a very proud moment, as it was a rare situation marking a transfer from non-league football to the Premier League.
Other notable transfers that Dan assisted with involved players such as Che Adams, Grant Holt, Souleymane Coulibaly, Kelle Roos, Freddie Ladapo and many more. Dan has also assisted a number of Irish clubs and players in successfully completing a transfer to a professional UK club.
In the 2020 / 2021 season, Dan acted for a League Two club on the sale of a highly talented young player to a top four Premier League club and also for a National League club on their club record sale of a player to a Championship club.
In the 2021 / 2022 season, Dan regularly advised a handful of professional clubs on football transfer and related matters, particularly advising in respect of compensation and eligibility issues and providing immigration / work permit advice.
A sports lawyer acting in the football sector will be instructed in matters that go far beyond transfers or arbitral / disciplinary hearings. Examples of other football work that Dan and his team have carried out include:
- Successfully acting for Norwich City Football club in a defamation claim against the News of the World newspaper;
- Representing numerous football clubs in respect of their appointment of new first team managers and back-room staff, at Premier League, Championship and League One level;
- Represented Norwich City FC at a Football Disciplinary Commission Hearing concerning Paul Lambert’s recruitment from Colchester United FC;
- Advising and assisting on a Premier League’s application for Category One status under the EPPP system;
- Advising a League One club as to third party and seed investment matters;
- Acting for an Academy player (and his parents) in a substantial and successful compensation dispute against a Premier League football club in 2017;
- Acting for an individual being appointed as a CEO of a Championship football club in 2017;
- In 2018, acting for an entire back-room staff upon their departure from an EFL Championship club to a nearby rival;
- Acting for a Premier League football club in 2019 as they entered into a long-term contract with their Sporting Director;
- In 2021, acting for a number of senior back-room staff departing a Premier League club;
- In the 2021 / 2022 season, acting for Kieran McKenna and Martyn Pert as they moved from Manchester United to Ipswich Town to become manager and assistant manager respectively;
- Advising both a Premier League club and a Football League club in the 2021 / 2022 season in respect of immigration and various regulatory, sponsorship and commercial matters;
- In the 2021 / 2022 season, advising a leading football club in the women’s game in a range of matters;
- Acting for a Sporting Director in the 2021 / 2022 season in relation to taking up a new role at a Championship football club; and
- Successfully representing a professional club before a FA Appeal Board panel regarding disciplinary charges arising from crowd disorder.
Other legal matters where Dan has acted for professional football clubs have included defamation claims, advice on third party investment and potential sales, insolvency issues and strategic advice to the Board on recruitment and football staff issues.
The team has acted for a National League football club in a unique fund-raising scheme in a successful attempt to avoid insolvency.
Dan and his team offer a full range of legal services to individual players, agents, coaches, managers as well as professional football clubs. These include:
Legal Services for football players:
- Advice on player / employment contracts and representation contracts;
- Contract / transfer negotiations;
- Dispute management;
- Representation and appeals against disciplinary sanctions;
- Court, Tribunal and Arbitration representation;
- Immigration and work permit advice and assistance (and appeals);
- Advice on training compensation and EPPP issues;
- Advice on image rights matters;
- Advice on employment law and welfare issues;
- Advice on disputes with agents / FA Registered Intermediaries; and
- Advice on the FIFA Football Agent Regulations (FFAR), the FA National Football Agent Regulations (NFAR) and the implications for the player.
Legal Services for Clubs
- Contract negotiations and re-negotiations;
- Advice on transfer negotiations, agreements and documentation;
- Court, Tribunal and Arbitration representation;
- International disputes and CAS;
- Recruitment services and advice;
- Advice on FA, Premier League, Football League, UEFA and FIFA Regulations;
- Advice on image rights matters;
- Sponsorship issues, disputes and agreements;
- Advice on player compensation issues and solidarity payments;
- Advice on overseas leagues;
- Advice on agent / FA Registered Intermediary disputes;
- Advice on the FIFA Football Agent Regulations (FFAR), the FA National Football Agent Regulations (NFAR) and the implications for the club;
- Advice on immigration, work permits and GBEs;
- Advice on academies, EPPP and youth issues;
- Advice on third party investment;
- Advice on financial regulation and financial fair play;
- Advice on ownership issues and the Fit and Proper Person test (ODT Rules);
- Advice on media matters (offline and online);
- Privacy and defamation;
- Discipline matters;
- Advice on employment law, recruitment and exits;
- Doping matters;
- Compliance with health and safety;
- Corruption and match-fixing issues; and
- Licensing agreements.
Legal Services for Others
- Advice to agents / FA Registered Intermediaries on the FIFA Football Agent Regulations (FFAR), the FA National Football Agent Regulations (NFAR) and their compliance with them;
- Advice to agents / FA Registered Intermediaries on regulatory matters;
- Advice to agents / FA Registered Intermediaries on disputes with clubs or players;
- Advice to parents in respect of their children and contractual issues with clubs or agents;
- Advice to parents in respect of the EPPP system and compensation issues / disputes;
- Football Agency / FA Registered Intermediary representation and services;
- Advice and representation for football managers and coaches in respect of their contracts, negotiations and disputes; and
- Expert witness advice in football litigation matters.
FA Registered Intermediary Services
- Representation for professional football players as a FA Registered Intermediary;
- Representation for professional football clubs as a FA Registered Intermediary;
- Representation services for other intermediaries (UK and worldwide) on a sub-contract basis as a FA Registered Intermediary.