Solicitor predicts increase in sporting legal challenges

Sporting organisations can expect more legal challenges to their rules and regulations according to the solicitor who successfully challenged a Welsh Rugby Union decision to suspend a player.

Field Fisher Waterhouse intellectual property partner Nick Rose obtained an interlocutory injunction against the union on behalf of Ebbw Vale club player and former international Mark Jones.

The case, which received national press attention, saw Jones' suspension for on-field violence in a club match lifted pending his appeal to the union.

Rose said the case highlighted what his client saw as the inherent unfairness of the disciplinary tribunal procedures. “This decision now means that the proposition that there is a contractual relationship between players and their sporting bodies has become law,” said Rose.

“I think professional sport is now very high profile – there are large amounts of money at stake. I think it will be a growth area for lawyers.”

Labour MP David Hinchliffe has criticised the Jones decision and questioned lawyers' increased involvement in the sporting arena.