Onside Law plays above par to secure Ryder Cup mandate

Sports boutique Onside Law has landed a major mandate after advising Ryder Cup Europe on the bidding process to decide the host for the 2018 staging of the biennial golf ­tournament.

It is the first time that the Ryder Cup host has been decided in this way, with five courses from different ­European countries vying for the honour.

Founding partner Oliver Hunt is leading the deal for Onside Law, with co-­founding partner Simon Thorp on matters involving guarantees from potential host ­governments.

“I think it’s one of the most important pieces of sports law work this year as it’s the first time [this has been done] in golf,” said Hunt. “We were dealing with five countries and five bidders so it’s a fantastic mandate for us to win. Very few private practice lawyers tend to advise the rights holders, as often these things are ­handled in-house.”

Each bidder turned to local counsel for advice. Garrigues is acting for the Madrid bid, with sports law partner Félix Plaza Romero leading. In Paris, Illouz Partners IP partner François Illouz and sports law partner Alexis Gramblat are advising the French bid, along with IMG Legal.

Clifford Chance’s Amsterdam office is acting for the Dutch bid, with local ­dispute resolution partner Alvin Khodabaks leading. In Germany, Honert & ­Partners Munich M&A partner Sven Fritsche is advising the bid, while ­Lisbon’s AAA Advogados corporate partner Dulce Franco is acting for the ­Portuguese bid.

The winning bidder will be named tomorrow (17 May). Hunt added that he hoped Onside Law would be involved with the ­implementation process ­following the selection of the host, as well as the 2014 tournament to be held at Gleneagles in Scotland.

Onside Law won the ­bidding process mandate after getting the nod to act for the PGA European Tour on an Asian joint venture 18 months ago.

The firm is also advising the tour on its intervention in the Premier League’s appeal to Ofcom’s Sky Sports ruling, after the watchdog ruled that the channel must cut its subscription prices.