FA unveils new-look legal panel following move to Wembley

In all, eight firms are included in the panel, which is split into four separate streams. The decision to form an integrated panel came after the FA combined its five core organisations – including the England 2018 World Cup bid team – and relocated to the new Wembley Stadium.

The corporate support panel includes Bird & Bird and Charles Russell alongside Pinsent Masons, Mayer Brown and Allen & Overy. South-east firm Blandy & Blandy will also advise on some aspects of venue operation for Wembley.

Bird & Bird will act on most aspects of commercial work, while Forresters will take on the trademark and patent attorney role and Michael Simkins will act for Wembley on concert work.

Charles Russell, meanwhile, has bagged an exclusive role on the FA’s regulatory panel.

The litigation panel is split between the two main firms, with Charles Russell advising on media litigation and defamation and Bird & Bird taking the IP side. In addition, Bird & Bird will continue advising on the 2018 World Cup, a mandate it won last year.

Addleshaw Goddard and Eversheds have previously acted for the FA on several occasions, but neither firm found a way on to the panel following last year’s beauty contest.

Group legal director Alistair Maclean said: “Having integrated the group last year, we felt it was the right time to go to the market and appoint law firms on a new group panel. It was an opportunity to look at fixing rates up until March 2012, which helps give us some certainty.”

Justin Walkey, head of media and sport at Bird & Bird and FA relationship partner, said: “It’s broadly similar to what we’ve done over many years. It’s pleasing because we’ve maintained our core relationships with the FA, which go back as long as anybody’s.”