by Mills & Reeve

meet the team

 

Contact details
Position: Partner
Phone: +(44)(0)161 234 8810
Email: mark.hovell@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: Twitter and LinkedIn

 

 

Mark Hovell

Mark is a partner and the head of the sports team.

Over the past twenty years, Mark has advised hundreds of athletes on their sporting contracts, image rights, and endorsement deals. As a noted insolvency expert, he has also advised nearly sixty football and rugby clubs in insolvencies and restructurings.

He is also an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where he has been selected to hear over two hundred cases. As a result of his experience and reputation as an arbitrator, he was selected to the CAS ad-hoc committee for the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games. He was also selected as one of twelve arbitrators to the ad-hoc panel for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Mark is also on the UK’s Sports Resolutions tribunal panel and is accredited to the UK’s National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP).

Mark regularly lectures at universities and conferences all over the world, including London, New York, Madrid, Rome, and Timisoara. He is also a trustee of the James Milner Foundation, an editorial board member at LawInSport, the chair of the pro-manchester Sports Industry Group and was previously a non-executive director at the Manchester Football Association.

His work includes:

  • Acting for players' unions and their members
  • Acting for football clubs in insolvencies and restructurings
  • Acting for footballers and clubs on international disputes, including on leading cases involving training compensation, Article 17, and other football-related issues
  • Successfully defending athletes against doping charges
  • Advising footballers on cross-border investment deals
  • Acting on domestic and international transfers, employment contracts, and image rights deals
  • Working with athletes to establish charitable foundations and with football clubs on establishing community schemes

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Contact details
Position: Consultant
Phone: +(44)(0)161 234 8806
Email: carol.couse@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: Twitter and LinkedIn

 

Carol Couse

Carol is a consultant in the sports team and has over thirteen years of experience in sports law, both in-house at Manchester United and in private practice.

As a fluent Spanish speaker, Carol frequently advises top athletes, agents, and clubs in Spain, Latin America, and South America.

Carol is regularly invited to lecture at universities and conferences all over the world, publishes authoritative articles on a wide variety of sport-related matters, and often provides comments and analysis on legal issues in sport for the BBC, the Times, the Guardian, the New York Times, Sky Sports, ESPN, FourFourTwo, and others.

She also sits on the board of the Greater Manchester Sports Partnership.

Her work includes:

  • Advising footballers in disciplinary proceedings relating to on-field matters before The FA and UEFA
  • Acting on behalf of football clubs, players, and intermediaries on domestic and international transfers
  • Advising professional football leagues, clubs, players, managers, and intermediaries on football regulatory matters (player transfers, player contracts, immigration and work permit requirements)
  • Advising high-profile footballers on image rights deals
  • Acting on behalf of football clubs, players, managers, and intermediaries before the Premier League, The FA, UEFA, FIFA, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • Advising sports and other rights holders on commercial matters, including sponsorship, endorsements, event organisation (including tours), and the exploitation of their domestic and international television, radio, digital, and mobile rights

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Contact details
Position: Partner
Phone: +(44)(0)1223 222 618
Email: chris.belcher@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: Twitter and LinkedIn

 

Chris Belcher

Chris is a partner and the head of the firm's private client practice. He specialises in advising UK and international athletes on their personal tax and wealth planning, often using trusts, companies and foundations to protect wealth for the future.

Chris also competes internationally for Great Britain's age-group duathlon and triathlon teams.

His work includes:

  • Advising UK and international athletes on personal wealth and tax planning
  • Advising athletes on establishing trusts, companies and foundations
  • Advising high-profile Premier League footballers on image rights
  • Representing athletes before the UK tax tribunal

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Contact details
Position: Partner
Phone: +(44)(0)121 456 8401
Email: richard.santy@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: LinkedIn

 

Richard Santy

Richard is a partner in the employment law team and is regularly engaged in sport-related matters.

Richard sits on the Birmingham Law Society Employment Committee, and prior to becoming a lawyer, he was a professional tennis player.

His work includes:

  • Advising high-profile football players on transfers and image rights
  • Advising athletes on doping charges
  • Advising athletes in employment discrimination claims against their clubs
  • Acting for football clubs on employment matters

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Contact details
Position: Partner
Phone: +(44)(0)161 234 8718
Email: simon.pedley@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: Twitter and LinkedIn

 

Simon Pedley

Simon is a partner in the dispute resolution team and acts for a variety of businesses and individuals, including sportspeople and sports bodies.

He has previously worked at Addleshaw Goddard and Pannone.

His work includes:

  • Advising football clubs on contractual issues
  • Advising a variety of sports clubs on enforcement of arbitral awards in and out of the UK
  • Acting for a high profile group of footballers pursuing a professional negligence claim
  • Advising athletes and players' unions on disputes with insurers
  • Advising a club owner in relation to a family trust
  • Advising footballers on image rights deals and tax issues

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Contact details
Position: Associate (Australian Qualified)
Phone: +44(0)161 234 8708
Email: tiran.gunawardena@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: Twitter  and LinkedIn

 

Tiran Gunawardena

Tiran is an Associate (Australian Qualified) and specialises in international and domestic sports arbitration and regulatory matters in sport.

He is a dual qualified as an Australian solicitor and chartered accountant and completed a masters degree in international sports law at ISDE (Madrid). Prior to joining Mills & Reeve, Tiran spent four years with the corporate tax and mergers and acquisitions teams at PwC in Sydney.

Additionally, having lived Spain, Australia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and now the UK, Tiran has developed a broad international network of contacts, particularly in sports law, which are relied upon when clients require legal expertise in foreign jurisdictions.

Tiran is also an England Boxing and British Gymnastics Disciplinary Panel member.

His work includes:

  • Advising clubs, players, intermediaries and players' unions on a variety of sports disputes
  • Providing advice to clients in employment, commercial, and litigation matters in cases involving breach of contract, discrimination, right to play issues, training compensation, and agents' fees disputes
  • Representing domestic and international clients before The FA, FIFA, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
  • Drafting intermediaries contracts for clients in accordance with both the FA and FIFA regulations on working with intermediaries

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Contact details
Position: Principal Associate
Phone: +44(0)161 234 8716
Email: rachael.somerset@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: Twitter  and LinkedIn

 

Rachael Somerset

Rachael is a commercial litigator and an expert in reputation management in sport.

Rachael is on the committee of future pro-manchester and was a finalist for lawyer of the year at the Made In Manchester Awards in both 2015 and 2016.

Her work includes:

  • Advising both claimants and defendants in sport defamation cases
  • Advising top athletes and sporting organisations on reputation management, and particularly where they have faced adverse or intrusive media coverage in newspapers, national television, online publications, and on social media
  • Advising clients in contractual and shareholder disputes

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Contact details
Position: Associate
Phone: +44(0)121 456 8316
Email: philip.hutchinson@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: Twitter  and LinkedIn

 

Phil Hutchinson

Phil is a commercial litigator with expertise in advising both public and private sector clients across the UK and abroad. He regularly represents high-profile sports individuals, clubs, and organisations, with a particular focus on football.

Having studied and lived in Germany as part of his undergraduate degree, Phil is a fluent German speaker is able to act for clients in German-speaking countries on litigious matters.

Previously, Phil undertook an in-house secondment at the UK's leading luxury automotive manufacturer. This has allowed him to develop significant expertise in the automotive industry.

His work includes:

  • Representing footballers, intermediaries, clubs, and organisations on a variety of sports disputes
  • Advising and representing professional footballers and rugby players in doping cases
  • Advising clients on complex fraud investigation work
  • Advising clients on high-value breach of contract claims and shareholder disputes

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Contact details
Position: Senior Associate
Phone: +44(0)121 456 8445
Email: richard.barker@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: LinkedIn

 

Richard Barker

Richard is a senior associate in the employment law team with considerable experience in advising on sports-related matters.

He qualified as a solicitor specialising in employment law in 2007 and has advised numerous clients across various sports on employment-related matters.

His work includes:

  • Advising football clubs and players on employment disputes and settlement agreements
  • Acting for a rugby league player and club in a dispute with another club over contractual terms and right to play issues
  • Drafting agent / intermediaries contracts for clients
  • Advising a high-profile athlete on a dispute with the sport's national association

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Contact details
Position: Associate
Phone: +44(0)121 234 8717
Email: sarah.whyman@mills-reeve.com
Find me on: LinkedIn

 

 

Sarah Whyman

Sarah is a commercial lawyer specialising in advising clients on the drafting and negotiation of commercial contracts.

She completed a six-month secondment at Manchester City Football Club, working within their in-house legal team. She worked on a number of high profile contracts (including player’s contracts and endorsement deals), and, naturally, took advantage of the opportunity to attend most of the matches!

Prior to joining Mills & Reeve, Sarah worked as a commercial lawyer at DLA Piper.

Her work includes:

  • Advising clients in the sporting industry, on IT contracts, terms and conditions and supply of goods and services contracts.
  • Advising clients on non-contentious intellectual property matters.

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