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UK Coaching Team

Free Access to Legal Clinic

UK Coaching Premium Members can enjoy free access to an online clinic providing legal advice and guidance for coaches working in sport and physical activity

The Sports Law Clinic provides legal advice and guidance for coaches in collaboration with the University of Sussex.

It can help you deal with a range of legal issues, whether you work at the volunteer, paid, or professional level of physical activity and sport, including in the emerging field of E-Sports.

At the clinic, law students at the University of Sussex, working under the supervision of experienced sports law practitioners and academic staff, can advise you on legal issues.


This includes:

  • civil and criminal law disputes, such as claims of negligence/breach of the duty of care
  • safeguarding
  • employment law
  • commercial contracts and intellectual property law
  • charities governance
  • disputes with national sports organisations.

The Sports Law Clinic is led by Dr Neil Partington and supported on a pro bono basis (voluntary) by experienced sports law practitioners.

Why use the online clinic?

  • Efficiency: Seeking advice and guidance when needed can help you resolve legal issues more efficiently and effectively, saving you time and energy.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that you have expert guidance and support to help you navigate any legal issues that may arise can provide peace of mind and enable you to stay focused on your coaching.
  • Confidence: Having access to legal advice and guidance can help you feel more confident in your decision-making and interactions with athletes, colleagues, and other stakeholders.

What do people think of the clinic?

It was a great experience. I had an opportunity to express my situation and ask legal advice...The research was done in an outstanding way, the report was clear and informative and all the questions I had were answered, along with steps for moving forward. I highly recommend the service."

Housing Law Clinic client at a previous clinic

Everyone was exceptionally polite, helpful and very respectful...I have no hesitation in recommending this service to others."

Employment Law Clinic client at a previous clinic

Meet the Sports Law Clinic team

Sussex Law School

Neil is a Senior Lecturer in Sports Law at Sussex Law School. He is the author of a monograph titled 'Coaching, Sport and the Law: A Duty of Care' (Routledge, 2021). Neil holds:

  • a PhD in Law (2016) and a Masters in Legal Science (with Distinction, 2013) from Queen’s University Belfast
  • an MSc in Sports Coaching from Miami University (Ohio) (1992)
  • a BA(Ed) in Physical Education from the University of Exeter (1990).

His professional background includes experience as a teacher, curriculum manager, and Director of Teaching and Learning at a sixth-form college. He was previously an assistant men’s basketball coach at Miami University (NCAA Division 1).

Maria Mercedes Frabboni’s research interests lie in the field of copyright and cultural policies. She has commented on reforms affecting the management of copyright by collecting societies in the music and art sectors. She has conducted research on regulation of non-attributable or abandoned visual art and published on issues surrounding the use of orphan works, with a particular focus on the scholarship of vulnerable copyright authors.

Dr Frabboni's expertise on licensing of intangible goods feeds also into her teaching of sports law, the rights of athletes and their team in relation to the exploitation of their commercial magnetism and, specifically, of their image.

Salvatore is a Lecturer in Law at Sussex Law School. He is an Italian qualified lawyer who graduated from University of Palermo. Salvatore holds a LLM in Media Law from Queen Mary University of London. His area of specialisation is copyright and information technology law.

Salvatore is close to completion of his PhD from Queen Mary University of London and his thesis discusses video games and the legal criticalities connected with interactivity under players’ perspective. He is a passionate gamer and his research included E-sports industry-based legal issues. He has investigated the role of E-sports athletes under contractual and intellectual property perspectives while observing the unique traits of E-sports multimedia complex.

Legal Practitioners

Mike is one of the most experienced sport lawyers in Europe. He was a partner in the law firm that invented the sports law specialism back on the 1980s and 1990s (Townleys’ Sport Lawyers).

Since then, he has run his own sport agency representing professional sports men and women, he was a partner with Bates Wells & Braithwaite in the City, and for 10 years was the In-House Counsel at the International Paralympic Committee and attended 5 Paralympic Games as Head of IPC’ legal delegation, including London 2012.

Thomas is an associate in the employment team at Penningtons Manches Cooper. He is a member of the firm’s sports and entertainment group and is co-chair of its motorsports sub-group. He represents athletes and coaches on matters involving anti-doping violations, selection appeals, Paralympic eligibility and disciplinary hearings, and has advised footballers and intermediaries/agents on player transfers.

Thomas has also acted for sports organisations in protecting their confidential information and has experience in CAS proceedings.

Stavros Demetriou holds an LLB in Law (University of Kent), an LLM in Criminal Justice (University of Kent) and a PhD in Law (University of Law). He is a practising barrister (in Cyprus) specialising in criminal law.

Stavros is also an academic whose research interests lie in the areas of criminalisation, criminal justice, hate crimes and the intersection between criminal and sports law, such as issues relating to match-fixing. Moreover, he has teaching experience in criminal law, sports law, evidence law and criminal procedure.  

Pete has 15 years' experience as a corporate/commercial/IP solicitor and is head of Intellectual Property at Blacks Solicitors in Leeds. Pete acts for a broad range of clients from small start-ups to large international manufacturers as well as a number of high-profile sports personalities interested in protecting their intellectual property rights. He advises on a wide range of corporate, commercial, and Intellectual Property matters including sponsorship agreements and image rights agreements. 

Pete also advises companies on how to protect and benefit from their Intellectual Property assets.

Ellie is a Commercial Property solicitor at Blacks Solicitors LLP and deals with a range of matters including sales and purchases, landlord and tenant matters, and supports the team with development transactions.

Ellie is also the work experience coordinator for the firm and holds a position on the Leeds Young Entrepreneurs in Property (YEP) committee. Ellie is part of the firm’s netball team and an avid rugby league fan.

Andrew is an associate in the Commercial Dispute Resolution team at Blacks Solicitors LLP. Andrew qualified as a solicitor in 2015 at a London-based litigation and advocacy firm before moving to Blacks in 2020.

Andrew primarily acts in high-value complex commercial matters and specialises in contractual disputes and tort (including negligence). He has represented both sports clubs/associations and individuals. 

A limited example of Andrew’s recent cases includes disputes arising from agency agreements, unpaid fees from transfers, and claims for breach of contract against sports clubs.      

Andrew is a Senior Associate Solicitor having qualified as a solicitor in 2015. Since qualification, he has practised exclusively in Family Law. Andrew joined Blacks in April 2022, having spent almost 10 years at his former firm. 

Andrew deals with a variety of matters including:

  • Family disputes.
  • Divorce.
  • Children services (private).
  • Financial settlements.
  • Co-habitation (TOLATA).
  • Civil Partnerships.
  • Pre-marital agreements.

Andrew is a Specialist Accredited member of Resolution. Resolution’s Specialist Accreditation Scheme recognises members who demonstrate excellence in the practice of family law and in their specific areas of expertise, with accreditation in the areas of:

  • Complex Financial remedy 1 (complex low income and finance assets).
  • Complex Financial remedy 2 (complex middle/ high income and finances assets).
  • Children Law (private).

From a sports perspective, Andrew was formerly a keen rugby player and cricketer. Post university, he spent a year in Australia playing for Melbourne Cricket Club.

UK Coaching Premium Members can enjoy free access to this online clinic.

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