Luca Ferrari


Luca is a partner in our Italian corporate team and heads the sports practice worldwide.

He established his professional practice as an advisor to private companies active in global markets, acting often as trusted advisor in relation to strategies for structuring and growing an international business. Over the years, his practice has spanned the core sectors of the Italian economy, such as fashion, design and especially wine, an industry in which he has gained a reputation as one of the most experienced lawyers acting for Italian household names in foreign markets.

As a business lawyer with an international education and background, from the beginning of his professional career Luca has dedicated himself to sports law and the sport industry. In addition to assisting corporate clients, such as sponsors, manufacturers of sportswear and equipment, sports marketing agencies and media companies, Luca has become a trusted advisor to athletes, coaches, managers and agents.

As the firm’s global head of sports, Luca leads a team of lawyers based in Withers’ main offices in Europe, the USA and Asia, offering highly specialised sport-related regulatory, legal and tax services in relation to high profile transactions including, sponsorships, international transfers of players, playing contracts, management contracts, direct investments and licensing of audio-visual rights.

He was included in Sport Business International’s “World’s 20 most influential lawyers” feature and in the top three ranking of the ‘top 20’ feature of the same directory.

In 2020 Italian legal directory, TopLegal, recognised him as ‘Lawyer of the Year – Sports Practice’ at the TopLegal Industry Awards.

In 2018 Legal directory, Chambers and Partners (High Net Worth Individuals Practice) describes Luca as follows: ‘Luca Ferrari is held in extremely high regard for dedicating his practice to advising clients in the sports industry, including athletes, coaches, managers and agents. Fellow legal professionals report that ‘he’s very versatile, and he’s really able to pull everything together’. Market insiders unanimously agree that he is ‘very strong in sport’.

In 2018 and 2015 he received the "Lawyer of the Year – Sports Law" Award at the LegalCommunity Labour Awards.

Luca is a Recommended Lawyer in the international directory Legal500 EMEA.


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

Luca Ferrari understands the specific culture and issues, unique to the world of football and knows how best to resolve them. Over the years, he has consistently demonstrated his professional competence, attention to detail and total trustworthiness.

Oliver Bierhoff, Founder of Projektb and General Manager of the German national football team

The professional competence, professionalism and dedication of Luca Ferrari were of fundamental importance in the creation and growth of Serie B.

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

When it comes to sportsmen he is a star, very strong. Luca is one of the most skilled professionals in that area.

Chambers HNW 2018, Italy






Advises sports personalities and brands in various jurisdictions. He has assisted, amongst others, Wojciech Szczesny, Ilkay Gündogan, Manolo Gabbiadini, Alexandre Pato, Fabio Borini, Mario Gómez, Pavel Nedved, Jürgen Klopp, Roberto Donadoni, Alberto Zaccheroni, Andrea Mandorlini and Roy Hodgson. He acts as global legal counsel to Novak Djokovic.

Amongst his corporate clients, Luca is counsel to Santa Margherita, one of the leading wine producers in Italy; Arena, a major Italian swimwear manufacturer; Gruppo Umana, leader in staff leasing services, Adidas and the Italian maison, Krizia.

Italy, 1997

Luca has authored over 50 articles on sports law and sports management, including analysis on sports image rights and football transfer deals and contributes frequently to major Italian newspapers, such as ‘Il Sole 24 Ore’, ‘Corriere della Sera’ (including ‘Corriere Economia’), ‘Milano Finanza’,’ Italia Oggi’ and online magazines.

Amongst his publications:

‘Sports Law Manual’ – (‘Manuale di Diritto Sportivo’) – Chapter on image rights, Giappichelli, 2020’

Listed in the Qatar Sports Arbitration Foundation list of arbitrators as a lawyer specialised in sport law

Milan Bar

Luca is regularly interviewed by sports newspapers and radio programs.

"Wine Calling: Strategies for investing in US wineries," Withers presentation for select Italian clients - January 27, 2022, co-presenter


I became inspired admiring my grandfather, an 'avvocato' in the small North Eastern Italian city of Pordenone

As my long-time friend, Oliver Bierhoff (former AC Milan and Germany international and the current director of the German national team) used to say, I’m one of those failed football players who claim they would have had a brilliant career as a professional player, if that knee injury hadn’t stopped them. That’s me: a frustrated footballer turned lawyer.

After graduating with a thesis in international private law, I began my legal career as a transactional lawyer, helping Italian companies do business all over the world. During these early years, I also took a pioneering step into sports law (fatal attraction), starting by advising Udinese Calcio on the numerous (and successful) international transfers of their players. I soon ended up becoming the advisor to several football clubs, agents and managers and now find myself global head of sports at Withers.

I was lucky enough in my early years to learn my trade, professionally speaking, on matters involving such famous names as Alessandro Del Piero, Gianluca Vialli, Roy Hodgson and Kaká. A kind of Nirvana, if you are passionate about sport.

After many years in the sector, dealing with big names and celebrities from all walks of sport, there is still a special place in my memory for the successful challenge brought against Italian match participation restrictions affecting non-EU players, when, in the summer of 2000, I managed to obtain a full assimilation for Czech Pavel Nedvĕd to the EU players (at that time the Czech Republic was not part of the EU).



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