Slaughters’ Boardman advises on Lord Moynihan’s sports governance private member’s bill

Slaughter and May corporate partner Nigel Boardman has won a lead role advising British Olympic Association chair Lord Moynihan on his private member’s bill, ‘The Governance of Sport’.

The bill aims to spark debate about difficult issues in sport, proposing a raft of new measures including national anti-doping provisions, visa and immigration rules for elite tournaments, and tackling the trading of counterfeit goods. 

It is unusual for Slaughter and May to get involved with private members’ bills, which tend to be drafted by parliamentary draftsmen and overseen by a parliamentary agent rubber-stamped by parliament. These currently include Berwin Leighton Paisner, Bircham Dyson Bell, EvershedsPinsent Masons, Sharpe Pritchard, Veale Wasbrough Vizards and Winckworth Sherwood.

Slaughters won the mandate on this occasion thanks to a recommendation from another firm, looking to Boardman in particular for his experience in sports law. 

The partner advised Liverpool Football Club on its £300m takeover by New England Sports Ventures in 2010 (6 October 2010). He also led the Slaughters’ team which produced the Slaughter and May Review of Governance for the Rugby Football Union in 2011, and just this year advised in relation to a British challenge by Yacht Squadron Racing for the 35th America’s Cup. 

Boardman said: “We felt that Lord Moynihan had good and important points that need debating, and we were keen to help him to get those onto the political and public agenda.” 

Slaughters intends to host a debate with Moynihan and relevant sporting bodies at its Bunhill Row offices prior to the bill’s debate in parliament. 

Although the bill is unlikely to become law, Boardman noted: “Within the next eight years or so we’re hoping that political parties will pick up on its proposals.” 

It is hoped that various aspects of the bill will feature in parties general election manifestos, and that the provisions will be adopted in practice by 2022.

Boardman is being assisted on the mandate by associates Tina Winzer and Björn Bork.

Slaughter and May is intending to grow its private members’ bills practice in coming years. Despite being a relatively new area for the firm, Slaughters already has close ties to the UK’s political institutions having advised on enabling legislation and various privatisations. These recently include advice to HM Treasury on the break-up of the Royal Bank of Scotland (3 July 2013) and its sale of a stake in Lloyds Bank (17 September 2013).

Moynihan served as the minister for sport in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet between 1987 and 1990 and sat as a Conservative MP between 1983 and 1992. Before entering politics, Moynihan had an international rowing career, coxing the British men’s eight to a silver medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.