Hammonds has vowed to rebuild its sports practice, promoting senior associate Stephen Sampson to partner and head of the contentious sports practice.

The sports practice has been hit by the departure of two partners in recent months, after Bird & Bird bagged sports head Jonathan Taylor and Couchman Harrington hired sponsorship partner Andy Korman.

Sampson made partner in a rare promotion midway through the financial year, standing before the partnership selection committee towards the end of summer.

Sampson said: “We want to make sure that the firm doesn’t lose its contacts. I’m very optimistic or I wouldn’t be here.”

Hammonds is determined to maintain the practice after being left with just four partners and three associates.

Lucci Dammone, head of commercial and dispute resolution, said: “We’ve got a very strong practice and we’re looking to grow it. If we find the appropriate people then we’ll add to the team.”

This year the firm advised Fifa on its rights protection programme for the World Cup.

Sampson is currently representing Heart of Midlothian FC in a Fifa tribunal against Wigan FC and former player Andy Webster, who walked out of the club to join Wigan before terminating his contract. Brabners Chaffe Street is acting for Wigan.