Everyone in the world of sport wants to achieve success. Whether that’s securing a dream move to a new club, establishing or investing in a sports team or negotiating a partnership with a sports body, you will want to build on your achievements and move forward to realize your goals.

Withers understands the global dimensions of the sports industry and focuses on putting clients at the center of our business and commercial activities to provide connected and co-ordinated advice. We can advise on a wide range of issues impacting individuals and organizations in the world of sport from sponsorship, commercial contracts and tax to intellectual property, reputation management, immigration and the creation of charitable foundations.

Emerging talent

On your journey to the top, the decisions you, your family, managers and agents make today can have a huge influence on the direction your journey takes, and the rewards it brings along the way.

Getting to know you, understanding your motivations and immediate requirements allows us to provide you with early stage support, guidance and mentoring at the start.

The early identification and resolution of legal issues will be critical to the development of your brand and business potential.

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The way ahead

Legal advice on managing coronavirus

Coronavirus has left nothing untouched around the world, and will leave a long legacy of changes behind it. To help you adapt to this new world and identify the way ahead, we have a wealth of analysis and guidance available.

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21 October 2020 - Article

The capital gains tax "benefit" of your home office being invaded by the family from time to time

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Our long established relationship between LNPB and Withers, especially through Luca Ferrari’s knowledge, has been a decisive factor in LNPB’s birth and growth.

Paolo Bedin, Direttore Generale - Lega Nazionale Professionisti Serie B (Italian Football League Serie B)

Football management is a high pressure job. Luca and his team help by taking care of all the legal aspects, leaving me to concentrate on what I do best.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool Football Club Manager

As my long standing global legal counsel, Withers are a fundamental part of my team. Their advice has been far-ranging in many instances across the spectrum of my tennis and commercial interests.

Novak Djokovic

They have been instrumental in protecting our business interests and their professionalism, availability and attention to detail, as well as the quality of response, have always impressed us.

Renault Sport

Withers has worked closely with various functions within the committee and alongside the legal team to ensure all legal requirements for the first European games have been met in a timely and efficient manner.

Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee

When you need to be totally focused on pursuing your sports ambitions at the most competitive level, Withers experience and range of services is invaluable.

Lucas Silva

With the precious support of Withers’ expert commercial sports lawyers, we were able to agree on a very valuable and ground-breaking technical partnership with USA Swimming. The partnership has given a huge boost to our brand in the USA and globally.

Arena Swimwear

Withers has advised Ascot Racecourse for many years including setting up the corporate structure which is now responsible for the day-to-day management of the Ascot Racecourse. The team continues to provide guidance to our trustees on constitutional and governance issues.

Ascot Racecourse

The firm was efficient and effective in assisting us with the establishment and operation of our marketing and Asia Pacific HQ in Singapore, and continues to provide us with valued advice on commercial and compliance matters.

International Table Tennis Federation

When Nicholas Latifi was making a start in motorsport, we turned to Withers for advice on who to speak to and how to protect Nicholas’s business and personal interests. Since then, the firm has gone on to provide us with valuable business and corporate advice.

Latrus Racing Corp

Sports blog

Updates on sports business and legal news from around the world.


Summer of sport: women winning

It is impossible to escape yet another fantastic summer of sport, with women firmly in the spotlight this year. Alongside the various events taking place this summer, we will be releasing a series of articles and interviews looking at the challenges faced by women in sport and how to overcome them, as well as the opportunities that exist for women’s sport.

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Luca Ferrari - Global Head of Sports

Luca is a partner in the international corporate department and global head of the sports practice.

He established his professional practice as an advisor to companies active in both national and international markets, with a particular focus on international commercial contracts and cross-border transactions.

Luca obtained his Law Degree at the University of Padua, in Italy where he subsequently obtained a diploma in International Trade Law; he also attended University of California at Berkeley.

Since 1994, he has specialised in sports marketing and sports law.

Over the years, Luca has been advising sports personalities and prominent clients across the whole spectrum of major sports stakeholders and different jurisdictions. Clients include Premiership, Serie A, Ligue 1, Brazilian soccer clubs, basketball clubs, leagues and other sports governing bodies, players, agents, managers and coaches as well as primary sportswear manufacturers.

Luca has been engaged by footballers and coaches such as Ilkay Gündogan, Edinson Cavani, Pato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo, Matteo Darmian, Fabio Borini, Luis Adriano, Mario Gomez, Emerson Palmieri, Paulo Dybala, Manolo Gabbiadini, Amin Younes, Sami Khedira, Wojciech Szczesny, Jürgen Klopp, Roberto Donadoni, Andrea Mandorlini, Alberto Zaccheroni, Maurizio Sarri, Roy Hodson, Luigi Delneri, Walter Mazzarri, Silvio Baldini, Giuseppe Iachini, and he currently acts as global legal counsel to Novak Djokovic.

Amongst his corporate clients, Luca has advised NIKE, Arena, Dugout, Mediapro, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, OZ Racing and Sergio Tacchini.

He has published numerous articles on sports law in various publications in Italy, England, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden and he currently collaborates with several legal publications. He is currently a lecturer at various post-graduate sports law master programs and seminars.

Meet the team

Track record

Renault Group & Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l.

Renault Group is a French automobile manufacturer with long history in motorsport. When Renault was interested in the purchase of a controlling stake in Lotus F1 Team Ltd, Renault Group and Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l. came to Withers for advice on the acquisition.

Jürgen Klopp

Withers has a strong track record in representing high-profile and high-net-worth figures in the world of sport. When leading football manager Jürgen Klopp was approached by Liverpool Football Club to become its manager, we represented him in the negotiations for his move and the extension to his contract.

Renault Group's acquisition of Lotus F1

Our London, Milan, Hong Kong and Singapore teams assisted Renault Group on the acquisition of Lotus F1 and its €1.5 billion investment in motorsport and technology. Renault extricated itself from engine supply agreements with F1 teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso, before embarking on the Lotus deal. The process took over nine months and involved staving off Lotus's multiple creditors, who were intent on putting the group into administration thereby saving Lotus's 512 skilled workforce from redundancy. Our corporate and insolvency teams achieved the unprecedented feat of adjourning four consecutive winding up petitions in court over the course of six months. This process added intense pressure to the deal, which was already complicated by the multi-party negotiations involving Mr Bernie Ecclestone, CVC, FIA, principal sponsors of Lotus, incoming and outgoing drivers of Lotus F1 as well as the outgoing minority shareholder of Lotus F1.

Roberto Donadoni on contract extension

Roberto Donadoni and his assistant coaches for their contract extensions with the Serie A club Bologna F.C. Withers are proud to have advised on the extension of the new employment agreements.

İlkay Gündoğan on his transfer Manchester City

İlkay Gündoğan on his transfer to English Premier League team Manchester City FC. Midfielder Gündoğan moved from German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund and also plays for the German national team.

Wojciech Szczesny's on his £10 million transfer to Juventus

Wojciech Szczesny's on his £10 million move to Italian champions Juventus. The Polish international has made the move after 132 appearances for Arsenal FC having spent eight years at the club, and the last two seasons on loan at AS Roma.

Sport England's framework agreement

Developing a framework agreement and call-off-contract documents for Sport England's specialist design consultancy panel.

Football Foundation's framework agreement

Developing a framework agreement and call-off-contract documents in respect of three procurement exercises undertaken on behalf of the Football Foundation, UK's largest sports charity, and related parties.

High-profile individuals in football

We are acting for a number of figures in the international football industry in relation to a Code of Practice 8 (COP 8) investigation. Our clients were missold investment schemes that amounted to tax avoidance, and we are dealing with HMRC on their behalf and negotiating a settlement with their negligent advisers.

Singapore Youth Council

Acting in two matters for the Singapore Sports Council in relation to separate claims separate involving the use of a public swimming facility. We acted for the council both at the Coroner’s Inquiry and also managed the common law claims.

International Table Tennis Federation

Assisting the International Table Tennis Federation with the establishment and operation of its marketing and Asia Pacific HQ in Singapore and continuing to provide ongoing advice on commercial and compliance matters.

ASEAN Basketball League

Advising the League on the restructuring of its constitution and participation agreements and on its contract with a broadcaster.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Advising the Ultimate Fighting Championship (an American mixed martial arts promotion company) on compliance related matters for the staging of its first event in Singapore.

World Wrestling Entertainment

Advising World Wrestling Entertainment in relation to commercial media activity including the application of the television broadcast rules in Singapore.

Manolo Gabbiadini on his £17 million transfer Southampton

Manolo Gabbiadini on his £17 million transfer to English Premier League team Southampton FC. Manolo moved to the UK club from Serie A club SSC Napoli and also plays for the Italian national team.

Sale of majority stake in V8 Supercars

We are advising V8 team owners in relation to the sale of a majority stake in V8 Supercars to private equity.

Andrea Pirlo on his transfer to New York City

Andrea Pirlo on his transfer from Juventus FC to New York City FC of Major League Soccer. Andrea is regarded as one of the greatest ever midfielders in football and has been a key player in winning World Cup, Champions League and Serie A teams

The Youth Olympic Games

The Youth Olympic Games in Singapore as the official legal services sponsor, which covered a range of issues concerning the organisation and hosting of the games.

World Sports Group in relation to disputes

World Sports Group, Asia’s largest sports marketing, media and event management company, in relation to disputes pertaining to an agreement relating to the exploitation of commercial rights.

Acquisition of Queens Park Rangers

Investors on the purchase of Queens Park Rangers FC, an English football club and subsequent investment by the Mittal Group as well as advising on successive rounds of equity and debt financing.

AC Milan on the sponsorship by Emirates airline

AC Milan, an Italian Serie A football club, on the sponsorship by Emirates airline, which included the San Siro stadium and the Milanello sporting complex

National basketball team

Represented a national basketball team in defending federal claims. The case successfully resolved with full dismissal of claims against the team.

Novak Djokovic on his sponsorship deal with Lacoste

Novak Djokovic the current Roland Garros and Australian Open champion and world number two, on the negotiation of his new sponsorship agreement with sportswear group Lacoste. The agreement follows on from a sponsorship relationship with the Uniqlo brand which commenced in 2012.

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