Stephen Sampson leads our Sports, Retail, Hospitality & Leisure practice. A commercial, litigation and arbitration lawyer, his expertise covers commercial, regulatory and contentious work for clients in the sports, media, advertising and marketing services sectors. 

    He has extensive experience before sports tribunals and the Court of Arbitration for Sport and is recognised by the legal directories as a leading practitioner within the sports law and brand management sectors.

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    • Acting for Lotus Renault GP Limited in successfully defending the application by Nick Heidfeld for interim relief and in the subsequent proceedings.
    • Acting for Aston Villa in the dispute with Birmingham City Football Club concerning Alex Mcleish.
    • Advising an international governing body on the outsourcing of the long term management of a major international team event.
    • Acting for Aston Villa in the Premier League Manager's Arbitration Tribunal claim by Martin O'Neill.
    • Acting for a media buying agency in a multi-million pound sterling dispute with a client concerning volume discounts.
    • Acting for a Premier League club in a dispute with insurers concerning the permanent total disablement of an international player.
    • Providing English law advice to a sports marketing agency in disputes with a governing body and a broadcaster arising from the Indian Premier league cricket tournament.
    • Advising Premier League clubs on several shirt sponsorship and technical sponsorship agreements including Chelsea/Samsung, Chelsea/Adidas, Fulham/FX Pro, Fulham/JackWolfskin and Aston Villa/FX Pro.
    • Parallel Media Group v Lagardère Sports & Another – Acting for Lagardère Sports in securing the discharge of an interim injunction and subsequent High Court proceedings regarding a South East Asia sports event.
    • RC Lens v Chelsea & Gäel Kakuta CAS 2009/A/1976/1977 – Acting for Chelsea Football Club in securing the discharge of the transfer ban imposed by FIFA and an acknowledgement that Chelsea had not induced the breach of any contract in securing Kakuta.
    • Chelsea v Adrian Mutu CAS 2006/A/1192 & 2008/A/1644 – Acting for Chelsea Football Club in its claim for compensation against Adrian Mutu for the repudiatory breach of his employment contract due to the use of banned substances, through appeals to the CAS and Swiss Federal Tribunal and a complaint to the European Commission.
    • Acting for a Premier League club against another Premier League club in proceedings before the Professional Football Compensation Committee in the highest value case concerning the compensation payable upon the transfer of the registration of an out of contract young player.
    • Acting for a Premier League club in successfully defending an application by a highly regarded scholar seeking the mutual termination of his Scholarship Agreement, to permit him to move to another Premier League club, the subsequent settlement and filing of a complaint against a Premier League club alleging "tapping up".
    • Elliott Hilton v NISA – Acting for an international ice skater in securing against the National Governing Body a final declaration regarding its selection criteria requiring the skater to be selected to participate in the ISU World Championships.
    • Mike Ashley v News Group Newspapers Limited – Acting for Mike Ashley in proceedings against the publisher of The Sun newspaper alleging breach of his right to privacy contrary to Article 8 of the ECHR.
    • Acting for a rights owner in threatened proceedings against a well known video sharing website to mirror within the EC the multi-party action against YouTube and Google in the US.
    • Heart of Midlothian v Andrew Webster and Wigan Athletic AFC CAS 2007/A/1298-1300 – Acting for Heart of Midlothian in its claims before the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and the Court of Arbitration for Sport for compensation and sanctions against the player and his new club for the unilateral termination of a contract outside of the Protected Period.
    • adidas-Salomon AG v Draper & Others [2006] EWCH 1318 – Acting for the International Tennis Federation in the competition law claims before the High Court against the ITF and the Grand Slam events by adidas, Nike and Puma relating to the classification of the adidas “3-Stripes” as a manufacturer's identification for the purposes of the respective dress rules.
    • UEFA & BSkyB v Briscomb & Others [2006] EWCH 1268 – Acting for a governing body and a satellite broadcaster in securing summary judgment against those who unlawfully retransmitted over the Internet the live broadcasts of sports events, establishing the precedent for illegal streaming.
    • Advising several Premier League clubs on the early termination of kit supply or shirt sponsor agreements.
    • Preventing several stories adverse to Premier League clubs or players being printed.
    • Handling the rights protection programmes, including securing injunctions against ticket touts, around major international sports events.
    • Representing a rights holder in a US$ multi-million expert determination process relating to the valuation of the broadcasting rights for a major international sporting event.
    • Acting for a Premier League club in connection with an inquiry in relation to allegations of "tapping up" players.
    • Acting for Chelsea Football Club in its disputes with Manchester United and FC Lyn Oslo relating to the playing registration of John Obi Mikel.
    • Securing summary judgments in the High Court for World Snooker Enterprises Limited and Global Cricket Corporation Limited.
    • Advising Global Cricket Corporation in relation to claims arising from its US$550m investment into the ICC Cricket World Cup and other ICC properties.
    • Nisa v Isu CAS 2003/0/466 – Acting for the British Governing Body of Ice Skating on its corporate governance action against the International Governing Body before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
    • Modahl v British Athletic Federation Limited (in administration) (among others) [2001] EWCH 1447 – Assisting on the landmark action by Modahl against the British Athletic Federation arising from her doping offence.
    • Acting for national and foreign football clubs in claims before the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber Players Status Committee and CAS.
    • National and international advertising clearance in all forms of media.


    • Nottingham Law School, Postgraduate Diploma, 1998
    • Nottingham Law School, L.P.C.
    • The University of Nottingham, B.A.


    • England and Wales, 1996
    • Recommended in Chambers UK 2018 for Sports Law, UK-wide
    • Recommended as a Leading Individual in The Legal 500 UK 2017 for Sport
    • Recognized as a leading individual by Chambers UK 2016
    • Recommended as a Leading Individual in The Legal 500 UK 2015 for Sport

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