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Tom acts for a range of clients in high value, complex and cross-border commercial disputes. He has a particular focus on contractual disputes, professional negligence claims; insolvency and restructuring issues. He regularly acts for both insurers and insureds in relation to coverage disputes, complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service and judicial review.
Tom is also recognised as a leading sport lawyer and regularly acts for athletes, sponsors and international and national sport governing bodies.
“Brands are already queuing up to sign the stars that helped Team GB to their greatest ever medal haul and for many it will be the first time they have been faced with contract negotiations and discussions over image rights.
“Sponsors see medal winners as worth their weight in gold with their association having a positive impact on a huge range of products and services.
“For the household names it will be business as usual. But for athletes competing in lesser known sports, the new found fame could represent a dramatic turn in fortunes.
“The reality is that many athletes never experience the riches on show in other sports such as football, golf and tennis. Although their Olympic campaigns will have been financed by Sport England and UK Sport, a large number of athletes will be unprepared for the commercial opportunities that now await them.
“The issue can often be timing, with sponsors desperate to sign these stars up immediately whilst success is still fresh in people’s mind and their faces still adorn the front and back of newspapers.
“When these offers start to come it is vital that these hugely talented sportsmen and women take time to study the contracts and get an expert view so it’s clear what is on offer and what they’ll be required to do for the money.
“Sports agents and lawyers have a role in this process, and from a legal perspective, there are a number of considerations to bear in mind. These include:
• What, exactly, is the athlete selling, and to whom?
• Should the contract be negotiated through an image rights structure?
• Does the new opportunity infringe any existing arrangement, or agreements with the athlete’s governing bodies?
“These are just a few of the many issues that will need to be negotiated now the stars of Team GB have returned from Rio."
“Saturday must have been a very surreal day for Andre Gray; a young player who went from the highs of scoring his first ever goal in the Premier League to the lows of having to issue a statement asking “for forgiveness”.
“It could be said that he had two career defining incidents in just one day. The financial reward for players in England’s top division is greater than ever before and even before his goal the young, in-form English striker was being linked with a move to Arsenal.
“With the transfer window still open and Sam Allardyce about to name his first ever England squad, this was the perfect time for Gray to perform on the pitch and leave his representatives to ask whether he has a contract that reflects his new found status in the professional game.
“However, such was the offensive nature of the tweets from his account that Burnley could now have potential grounds to terminate, rather than improve, his contract.
“We know football operates in a vacuum away from the rest of the world but if senior figures at Burnley felt his comments would have the potential for reputational damage to the club then there are a range of options open to them.
“It’s extremely unlikely that Burnley would want to lose such a valuable asset whose goals will help their attempt to stay in the Premier League and therefore risk millions of pounds in prize money and sponsorship.
“As the incident didn’t happen whilst Gray was at Burnley, it is likely that they will warn him internally about future conduct and possibly ask him to attend equality training.
“Ultimately it is an embarrassing incident for Andre Gray and could easily impact on any local and national sponsorship deals he has in place."
“Offering a player a seven year contract – as is speculated here – is relatively unusual and is the reserved privilege of only the highest profile players. Such contracts are technically quite complicated so as to mitigate against the risks inherent in a long-term deal.
“For example, Bale’s advisors will insist on regular salary reviews to ensure his earnings keep pace with other high profile players and Bale may be able to insist that he is at all times the most highly paid player on Real Madrid’s books for the duration of the contract.
“Conversely, Real Madrid will want safeguards in place should Bale become injured, lose his form, or should his current “golden boy” reputation be tarnished in any way. The value of Bale to Real Madrid is far more than his talent on field; they will be relying on him to drive shirt sales and promote the club globally.
“Because of this, the negotiations are likely to be intense and lengthy, but there’s every chance a long-term deal could be agreed bearing in mind the mutual interest to both parties.”