Tuesday, 16 February 2021 13:46

Top scorers in the (Sports Law) Legal field

The need for specialisation in sports-related matters is not new in the Spanish legal market. The multiple legal aspects involved in this industry (image rights, sponsorship, complex transfers, the irruption of investment funds in transfers, clubs and sportsmen´s tax matters, or doping, among others) and the sophistication of the industry mean that professional sportsmen and sportswomen and sports entities need the best legal advice combined with high standards of quality and trust. In Spain, we have excellent renowned professionals, who either from a specialised boutique, betting on proximity and specialisation, or from a large firm´s Sports Law department, accompany all the actors of the Sports Legal scene in Spain and abroad.

In order to prepare this ranking, the first one presented by Iberian Lawyer, and which only includes lawyers in private sports practice in Law firms, exhaustive research work has been carried out which has taken into account the experience and specialisation of the lawyers in the sector, their recognition in prestigious legal directories in the field of Sports Law, as well as their membership of national and international organisations managing legal matters related to Sports, their participation in leading cases (some of them with a high impact on the media), their contribution to the teaching of Sports Law in prestigious business schools and universities, and their doctrinal contribution in this branch of Law through the publication of books, articles and their participation as speakers in congresses and seminars.

As a result of the high competition between the different profiles, some draws have occurred, as it is the case with the second and tenth positions, which makes this ranking of experts in Sports Law include a total of 17 lawyers. Many of them have shared firms, others have been masters and disciples among them, but they are all united by the same thing: their passion and dedication to the world of Sports. As always, not all of them are here, but at Iberian Lawyer we can guarantee that those who are here are Top Sports Lawyers in Spain.

1.- Juan de Dios Crespo | Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo

He is a partner and head of the Sports Law department of the Valencian firm Ruiz- Huerta & Crespo; without a doubt, an excellent professional at an international level, recognised for his extensive knowledge in the world of Sports, International and Community Law.

He is an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration of the European Handball Federation, Sports Resolutions UK and the Latin American Sports Law Association.

Since his beginnings in the Valencian Federation of Indoor Football in 1981, his specialisation has increased, thanks to its international background and knowledge of languages, advising mainly on International Litigation with procedures before UEFA, FIFA, BAT and TAS-CAS, having intervened in more than 200 cases before TAS-CAS.

He has a degree in Law from the Universidad Literaria de Valencia and holds two Master’s degrees from ISDE and URJC. He is the director of the Sports Law programme at ESBS and teaches on more than a dozen Master´s degrees related to Sports Law in Madrid, New York, London and Marseille.

He has lectured at many seminars, courses and events on Sports Law on four continents and regularly writes books and articles on the subject in various languages.

He has participated in matters in the world of football considered high-profile leading cases of world sport, such as the disciplinary case “Messi” before the FIFA´s Appeals Committee, and has represented players in the transfer and/or drafting of their contracts, such as Zidane, Mendieta, Morientes, or Miguel Reina. He was the lawyer in charge of delivering the €222 million of the termination clause of the Brazilian forward of FC Barcelona Neymar Jr. He won the appeal of the sanction against Messi, imposed by FIFA, dealing a four-match ban after ruling that the Argentina forward verbally abused a match official in a World Cup qualifying game against.

He is also known for having acted as a lawyer or Legal adviser to many football clubs in Spain and abroad. He has also been an external Legal advisor to LaLiga and one of the only four European lawyers chosen by UEFA and the European Union to advise on Sports and its future. He is recognised in his field by prestigious international legal directories.

02. José Juan Pintó Sala |Pintó & Ruiz Del Valle

José Juan Pintó is a partner and president of the Barcelona-based law firm Pintó Ruiz & Del Valle, one of the most prestigious and renowned firms specialising in international Sports Law, and a firm he joined in 1975. He is an expert in Corporate and Sports Law, including also Litigation and Arbitration, and advises all operators in the sports business (clubs, federations, leagues, athletes, agents...) both on contractual matters and on federative, regulatory and disciplinary matters (in particular in the field of doping).

As a TAS arbitrator, he has participated in the ad hoc divisions of the European Football Championship held in Portugal in 2004, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. He is chairman of the Ethics Committee of the Association of National Olympic Committees, an independent member of the UEFA´s Compensation Committee and the UEFA´s Governance and Compliance Committee, as well as of the Editorial Board of Football Legal.

He has been recognised as an expert in Sports Law by prestigious international legal directories and sports media for more than ten years. Pintó defended Messi against Nike when he was sued for “signing” with Adidas. He also intervened in Barcelona’s defence against Boca Juniors during the signing of Diego Armando Maradona in 1982 and defended Uruguayan Luis Suárez before FIFA after his bite to Italian Chiellini. He also participated in defence of Barça in the “Masia” case and advised Real Madrid in the “Menores” case.

He has a degree in Law from the Universidad de Barcelona and teaches on the Master’s degree in International Sport (ISDE). José Juan is a member of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit and is one of the most frequently appointed arbitrators in the world for proceedings before the CAS.

02. Javier Ferrero | Senn Ferrero Asociados

Tied for second place is Javier Ferrero, comanaging partner of Senn Ferrero Asociados Sports & Entertainment. He specialises in Sports and Entertainment Law. He began his professional career at Martínez-Echevarría, joining the Litigation department of Garrigues in 1997, and since 1999, he has been in charge of the organisation of legal advice sectors of the Real Madrid Football Club.

In 2002, he promoted and developed, together with economist and former director of Real Madrid Julio Senn, whom he met while working for Real Madrid, the Sports & Entertainment area of Garrigues, where they provided comprehensive advice to entities in the world of Sports and to sportsmen and women and professionals before opening their own firm, which he would found together with Julio Senn in 2010 as a result of understanding the Sports advice service as a specialised boutique rather than a large firm.

Javier has a degree in Law from the Universidad de Navarra and has been recognised as one of the best lawyers in the area of Sports Law in Spain and in the world by international legal directories for more than ten years.

He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Revista de Derecho del Deporte y del Entretenimiento (Sports and Entertainment Law Journal) of the Aranzadi Publishing House, and a regular speaker at various forums and Master’s degrees in Sports & Entertainment Law, having given various talks at International Congresses organised by the RFEF, UEFA and FIFA.

He is a member of the teaching staff of various national and international Master´s degrees related to Football Law, Mediation, and Sports Management & Sports Law.

Javier has advised football players, coaches and sportsmen around the world from his firm on Legal, Tax, Image, Property rights, Finance and Contractual matters, among others. He has worked with Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes, as well as with Portuguese coach José Mourinho and Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos.

03. Jorge Pecourt | Portamento Sports

Jorge Pecourt is a lawyer specialised in Sports Law, expert in Tax and Fiscal planning and aspects of sponsorship contracts of entities and sportsmen, who appeared in the media when he represented and elaborated the exit strategy of Leo Messi from FC Barcelona. Pecourt was the lawyer who advised Leo Messi in 2017 on the signing of the biggest contract in the history of Sports for more than €555 million, and which was revealed by the newspaper El Mundo. He was also behind the famous official fax that the Argentine football player sent to the club requesting his departure from FC Barcelona, based on a contractual clause interpreted by Pecourt in Messi's favour.

Pecourt graduated in Law from the Universidad de Valencia and subsequently studied Tax law at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). He joined Cuatrecasas law firm after graduating in 1997 and has always been linked to the firm’s Sports area. He has been a partner of the firm since 2009 and coordinator of the Sports Law area since 2012, when Javier Hervás and Miguel Terrasa, prestigious Tax lawyers with whom he trained, left the firm to join KPMG.

He recently left the firm after 23 years of legal practice (coinciding with the “Messi” case when the client broke with the firm) to start his own firm in Peratallada (Girona) Portamento Sports, a firm focused on Legal and Tax advice to sportsmen and sports clubs, from where he has continued to advise the FC Barcelona’s staff in relation to salary cuts.

Given his speciality in Taxation, he is recognised as an expert in matters such as the hiring of professional sportsmen and women, the correct protection and use of Intellectual Property rights, legal aspects of sponsorship contracts or the Taxation of sports entities. He is recognised by prestigious international legal directories in the practice of Sports Law.

To read the ranking in full please download issue N.101 here.

Iberian Lawyer
N.108 • October 2021

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The Latin American Lawyer
N.21 • September 2021

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