RFL overhauls legal panel

THE RFL, the UK’s governing body for rugby league, is reviewing its legal panel, looking to appoint a specialist sports law team as it faces broadcasting and sponsorship rights negotiation to secure the future of the sport.

RFL general counsel Rod Findlay has split the legal work into two panels, one for specialist sports law advice and another for general legal advice. He has invited nine firms to tender, asking five to tender for both panels, and four to tender for the general panel only.

The firms invited to tender include the RFL’s current advisers Addleshaw Goddard, while Bird & Bird, Farrer & Co, Hammonds, Manchester-based James Chapman & Co, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, Pinsent Masons, Watson Burton and Leeds outfit Zermansky & Co.

Findlay said: “In the next few years we will be involved in negotiations in the areas of broadcasting rights, sponsorship and enhancing our administrative procedures and competition structures. High quality external legal advice has an important role to play as seek to move the sport forward.”

The panel will be active from March 1, 2006.