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BASL January 2021 Newsletter



Welcome to the inagural BASL newsletter. The newsletter will be quarterly with the aim of bringing our members regular news and updates. If you would like us to include news relating
to your area of sport and law please do get in touch.

2020 has been filled with many unexpected changes for all of us. Despite this, it has remained an exciting and busy year for us at BASL. With that in mind, 2021 promises to be all the more exciting and we cannot wait for you all to be there with us.



Meet the Board

It is important that you know who makes up the BASL board. In each issue we will be introducing a member who sits on the board to you giving you an insight into their world at
work, the person behind the professional persona and a something in between. 

No introduction is really necessary for our President, Maurice Watkins but you may learn a thing or two about this distinguished gent who steers BASL.

Maurice Watkins- President



How my career in sport law began

My career as a sports lawyer has been very much linked to my involvement with Manchester United.

In 1976 I was a partner with James Chapman and Co a Manchester legal firm best known as an insurance defendant practice. The firm had also represented Manchester United since Munich.

One night I had a visit from another partner in the firm to tell me that the senior partner, Bill Royle, had died that evening at a Manchester Law Society meeting. I was given a file and told to attend a meeting in the morning at Old Trafford. It was a corporate
matter and the meeting was also attended by a number of outside advisors. Nothing happened on the case for some years. However, I was called into action not long afterwards on a more significant case – the termination of Tommy Docherty’s manager’s contract.
This had arisen because of Tommy’s affair with Mary Brown, the wife of the club’s physiotherapist Laurie Brown.

Click here to Read More about Maurice and his career.



Upcoming Events

Disclaimer: All events are subject to change




Monday 21 December 2020
To access the Zoom link Click Here.

Meeting ID: 865 8126 0860    Passcode: 917876

BASL Annual Conference

TBD Autumn 2021

BASL Debate

Thursday 21 October 2021

DMU Mini-Conference

Friday 5th November 2021



2020 BASL Annual Conference



BASL’s 27th Annual Conference took place at the magnificent Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday 27th February 2020. Liverpool and England legend John Barnes MBE led the lineup of
highly esteemed speakers. Barnes’ keynote address focused on his career and the ongoing racism issues faced by football. The conference also explored the highly topical issues of the new online era in sport, piracy in sport, human rights abuses and the benefits
and risks of regulating salaries in sport. 

The delegates were treated to many engaging opinions from those within the world of sport and law including Alice Wonnacott, Head of Media Partnership Management at Team, Sir Anthony Hooper, former Court of Appeal judge and Tom Bullock, Head of Legal Affairs
at ATP Media .

The final panel, proved a particular highlight with rugby legends Dean Richards, Rob Andrew and Brian Noble MBE treating delegates to their thoughts on all things salary caps and beyond. 


2021 BASL Annual Conference Update



Following the overwhelming support and success of this year’s annual conference held at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, it is with regret that the BASL board has decided to postpone
the scheduled conference in February 2021 due to Covid-19. As well as an esteemed line-up, one of the conference’s important roles within the sports law community is to bring together friends, colleagues and peers, and it was strongly felt by the board that
the absence of this would be detrimental to the quality of product and service the BASL board endeavours to deliver to its members. However, it’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’ so please watch out for further announcements on social media as to when the
rescheduled date will be, currently expected to be in the Autumn of 2021.



2020 BASL Debate



On the 22nd October 2020, we had the fortune of holding the Annual BASL Debate. As with anything in 2020, it was quite different than years past. However, in spite of the
virtual nature of the event, and the lack of formal networking that typically accompanies it, the debate was a success and served as an engaging and educational experience for all who joined.

This year our participants debated on the proposition that “Athletes are suffering from a lack of protection




and representation on fundamental issues of welfare and safety.” Athlete welfare has been a central issue in the world of sports law in recent months following the abuse allegation
in British Gymnastics and Jess Varnish’s appeal to her employment tribunal case against British Cycling. Ultimately, we had the opportunity to hear from leading figures in sport discuss such an important topic.

For more information about the BASL Debate, Click



RIDC Update



The Regional and International Development Committee (RIDC), a sub-committee of BASL, chaired by Andrew Haywood and supported by Nick De Marco QC are working actively to bring new
opportunities to BASL members. RIDC’s aim is to support professional development, opportunities and networking outside of the London area.




Recently Andrew supported the Japanese Sports Law Association in confirming a member of our Board to speak at their conference. If you would like to know more about the work of RIDC,
advise us of events for members and so on please do get in touch. 



BASL Education



BASL partnered with De Montfort University some years ago to deliver a Sports Law PGCert. The course covers many different areas of sports law, focussing on current issues in the
industry during the academic year along with a round history of the creation of the industry we know today. The course works alongside DMU’s Sports Law LLM, share the core module, two options and online weekend synchronous study sessions. The PGCert’s ever-popular
Practice Perspective module draws people in. 




Each year prominent members of the sports law community are approached to give a session discussing a particular area of specialism. This year due to COVID-19 the law firms that support
us have not been able to host the weekly face-to-face sessions but have admirably soldiered on with the software and complexities of online delivery. The students on the other hand have reveled in the anonymity and accessibility. 

For more information visit Click



Bursary Recipient

Andrew Bennett

After being made redundant from my first legal role in June, the bursary has enabled me to take part on the PG Cert course. It is a fantastic initiative from BASL that encourages
social mobility in a profession historically lacking such. Indeed, sports law has sometimes felt like a ‘who you know’ area to break into. BASL’s bursary gives me the confidence that merit and persistence will be rewarded, and I will long be grateful for that.

The course itself has so far given me unique insight into issues affecting sport. Issues that get expertly, and enjoyably, explained by professionals immersed in them. Whilst it is disappointing not being able to attend in person, the list of speakers has not
disappointed. I am especially looking forward to the lectures in the new year, where concussion in sport will be discussed in the backdrop of recent groundbreaking news stories.

Finally, and somewhat importantly, the course has provided me some great twitter accounts to follow. There’s nothing quite like some light Jack Anderson threads before you go to sleep. Input
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Membership Benefits


  • Access to the annual Casebook (published by Bloomsbury)
  • Free entry to numerous BASL events including the BASL Debate
  • Access to apply for the BASL Bursary
  • Access to the BASL Board


  • Discounted membership rates to affiliated international sports law associations
  • Discounted tickets to numerous events including the BASL Annual Conference
  • Networking Opportunities

For more information  Click Here.


We welcome new members both in sport and sports law. There are member categories for academics, student and professionals alike. 


Further Readings



One of our debate participants, Paul Horvath, a sports Lawyer in Melbourne Australia, recently wrote about his experience of participating on a panel at our BASL Debate.

To read Paul’s thoughts Click Here.





COMING SOON: 2020 BASL DMU Case Law Digest

BASL have been working with their education partner, De Montoft University, Leicester to reintroduce their BASL journal just in a different form.

Soon you will be able to order your copy of the BASL DMU Case Law Digest, published by Bloomsbury. The CLD will be a compilation of case notes and articles. If you would like to submit a case note or article please contact [email protected].

Keep an ear to the ground for updates.


Finally the BASL Board would like to wish all BASL members a happy and peaceful holiday, prosperous news year but most importantly a healthy 2021. 





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