Summer of sport: women winning


It is impossible to escape yet another fantastic summer of sport, with women firmly in the spotlight this year. Not only do we have the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off in France, but also a host of other key female sporting events around the globe including the Netball World Cup, the Rugby Super Series and the Women’s PGA Championship. Top female athletes will also be competing in a range of other high profile annual events including in tennis and athletics, and the World Aquatics Championships.

In recent years there has been a real effort to develop women’s sport to achieve the commercial and performance success of its male counterpart. Recent examples include: Nike partnering with the England netball squad, Visa signing a seven-year deal with UEFA women’s football, and a ground-breaking women’s motorsport racing series, the W Series, that launched earlier this year. However, there remain challenges. Female athletes and sports still struggle for media exposure and investment and athletes typically earn less than men. Women also face out and out sexism in terms of messages they receive on social media, the questions they are asked in interviews and how female referees, commentators and presenters are treated.

Members of our global Withers sports practice regularly advise on challenges such as these. We can assist with a wide range of issues affecting individuals and organizations in the world of sport from sponsorship, commercial and endorsement contracts and tax to intellectual property, M&A, reputation management, immigration and the creation of charitable foundations.

Alongside the various events taking place this summer, we will be releasing a series of articles and interviews looking at the challenges faced and how to overcome them, as well as the opportunities that exist for women’s sport. We combine our own thoughts with the opinions of top female athletes and other women involved at the highest level of sport. We hope you find these interesting and inspiring, and encourage you to join in the conversation!


Withers is a firm that tops the table in terms of female partners and leaders. We assist a significant number of female executives and entrepreneurs around the world in a variety of sectors. We are a natural fit to help and advise clients within women’s sport.

Anthony Indaimo, Partner, Milan, London

Women’s sport is growing fast and presents real opportunities, but it remains under funded and under served. This is something we hope to change.

Luca Ferrari, Partner, Milan

Women’s sport is something I care very deeply about and as a lawyer I am actively looking for opportunities to help female athletes and sports develop and thrive.

Libby Payne, Associate, London

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