The sports industry has grown significantly over the last 20 years both in terms of monitory value and complexity. That complexity has been further increased in recent years through the advent of digital technologies and social media, not to mention the introduction of ever increasing laws and regulations.

The Sports team at Teacher Stern LLP, now incorporating the sports lawyers from Butcher Burns LLP following the recent merger, provides a team of solicitors with the expertise to advise on a wealth of legal issues and challenges unique to the sporting industry. We are widely recognised in the legal press as a leading member of the sports law sector, and have been consistently recommended in Chambers, Legal 500 and other guides to the legal profession for our expertise and leadership in all areas of sports and sports regulatory work.

We advise a broad spectrum of those involved in sport, both in the UK and internationally, including clubs, sports bodies and sports agents as well as Premiership footballers, Olympic athletes and other international sports men and women.

Our primary focus is on talent representation, commercial work, mergers & acquisitions and private equity work; all in the sports sector.  We have in-depth experience in handling the specific legal needs of our sporting clients and pride ourselves in being able to offer commercial and pragmatic advice. The types of instructions we regularly accept include:

  • Drafting and providing advice in relation to the various different types of sporting agreements.
  • Corporate restructuring, with a specific focus on the sale and purchase of football clubs.
  • Disputes relating to contractual, regulatory, employment or disciplinary matters.
  • Media related issues such as defamation and breach of privacy claims.
  • Anti-doping issues.
  • Advised on the regulatory framework of individual sports.
  • Employment related issues and immigration.

Our team is passionate about sport and we take the time to ensure that we fully understand our clients’ sport specific needs so that we can provide hands-on, focused and solution driven advice. As a group of innovative, creative minded individuals, we are committed to building long-term client relationships and our fundamental aim is to achieve success for our clients.

Representative work

Examples of our sport work include:

  • Advised in connection with the high profile transfers of Paulhino (Tottenham), Willian (Chelsea) and Oscar (Chelsea).
  • Advised a major client in connection with the acquisition of economic rights relating to an international tennis player.
  • Advised the purchasers of Charlton Athletic, a potential purchaser of West Ham United and a potential bidder for Southampton.
  • Advised leading Great Britain athletes in respect of the selection policy of their respective governing bodies in the lead up to London 2012 and Commonwealth Games 2014.
  • Advised third party rights holders in relation to economic rights and recovery of transfer proceedings and disputes relating to Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano in claims against West Ham United.
  • Advised a third party rights holders in the transfer of Carlos Tevez to Manchester United and subsequently to Manchester City FC; advising Carlos Tevez on his disciplinary issues with Manchester City and in his subsequent transfer to Juventus.
  • Advised the owners of Charlton Athletic Football Club in the sale of the club to Roland Duchatelet.
  • Advised third party rights holders in the transfer of Javier Mascherano to Liverpool.
  • Advised Ashley Cole in two High Court privacy actions.
  • Advised a Football Agent and his client in respect of highly sensitive issues relating to Twitter.
  • Advised on the departure of a Chief Scout from a Championship club and a Sports Scientist from a Premier League club.

Key contacts:

Photo of David Salisbury

David Salisbury

Partner Corporate and Commercial
Work 37-41 Bedford Row London WC1R 4JH United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 20 7611 2394


As head of the firm’s corporate and commercial practice, David’s broad transactional experience includes acquisitions, disposals, take-overs and mergers, asset sales/purchases, joint ventures and company restructuring. He also advises clients on a range of corporate and commercial matters, including company/partnership formation, partnership/shareholders agreements and employment issues.

David has particular experience in the field of sport, acting amongst others for prospective purchasers of Premiership and Football League clubs in takeovers. He is also at the forefront of the development in England of the investment in and transfer of the economic rights of sportsmen and women.

For property investor clients, he has particular expertise in the disposal and acquisition of corporate and similar structures which assist in mitigating stamp duty land tax.

Representative Experience

David has experience:

  • Acting for investors in the economic rights of football players playing in the Premier League and the top divisions in other European Countries as well as in South America. Over the years, David has been involved in providing advice connected with the transfers, economic rights participation and/or playing rights of various Premier League and foreign based players including Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano, Jo, Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Fabiano and Heurelho Gomes to name but a few. More recently David has provided advice in relation to the following players: Paulhino (Tottenham) Willian (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea) and Carlos Tevez (Juventus).
  • Advising on a £430 million acquisition of a mixture of offshore and onshore companies owning 180 petrol stations and advising on the sale thereof three years later.
  • Acting on a series joint ventures for a leading UK celebrity magazine and newspaper publisher with a combined value in excess of £280m.
  • Acting for the prospective purchasers in their takeover of a Premier League Football Club.
  • Advising on the £166 million sale of a group of companies with an industrial portfolio.
  • Acting on the acquisition and financing of 545 public houses, worth £163 million.
  • Advising on the £25 million sale to a UK plc of a leading UK independent internet service provider.
  • Advising the founders and owners of a high end chain of London coffee shops on the sale, earn out and rollover of the owners’ differing interests in the business to a well known industry leading private equity firm.
  • Advising the owners of a mining public relations agency on the sale of the worldwide operations to a UK quoted company.

Career History

Partner, Teacher Stern

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37-41 Bedford Row London WC1R 4JH United Kingdom