Bishop & Sewell

It was a holiday season of mixed emotions, wasn’t it? Firstly Beth Mead, the 27-year-old Arsenal forward and outstanding player in England’s Euro 2022 victory in the summer, won BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The Lionesses won team of the year and their manager, Sarina Wiegman, became the first woman to be named coach of the year, writes David Little, a Partner in our Commercial department who increasingly handles Sports Law cases too..

There were some who asked why Ben Stokes was not BBC Sports Personality of the Year, having transformed a jaded English Men’s cricket team into a swashbuckling team of record-breaking heroes. If England reclaim the Ashes later in 2023 I suspect his turn will come.

One, the like of whom we will never see again, sadly, was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, aka Pele. It will take some talent to equal his record breaking three World Cup wins. Surely therefore the GOAT (greatest of all time)?

Whilst there’s lots to look forward to on the sporting front this headline, from the Daily Telegraph, brought me up with a jolt, “Rugby ‘heading for disaster’ over £300m debt black hole.”

According to the paper, Gallagher Premiership clubs are at risk of “heading for disaster”, having collectively amassed £300m in net debt over the past six years. The figure, which excludes investment in the competition from CVC Capital Partners in 2018, highlights the fact that after Worcester Warriors and Wasps were placed into administration, other clubs are under threat. After an investigation by private equities director, Mike Ryan, he believes that the structure of finances and player payments must be addressed as a priority for the league’s long-term financial health.

It gets worse. The very sport itself is under scrutiny for potentially not doing enough to protect players from concussion and long term brain injuries, such as the one experienced by ex-England international rugby player Steve Thompson, whose life has been turned upside down by a diagnosis of early onset dementia.

The BBC programme about his, and his family’s, attempt to come to terms with the condition is well worth a watch on iPlayer, Head on: Rugby, Dementia, and Me.

Contact our Sports Lawyer

David Little, is a Partner in the Corporate & Commercial team and also Head of Sports Law for the firm. If you would like to contact him please quote Ref CB373 on either 020 7631 4141 or email

The above is accurate as at 04 January 2023. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog, News | Date: 4th Jan 2023

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