Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We come across lots of up and coming sports talents looking for advice about signing contracts.


Christian Edwards, Partner and Sports Law expert at JCP Solicitors, a leading law firm based in Swansea, gives Sport Wales a few insights into what an up and coming sportsperson should be aware of when signing on the dotted line...
Christian Edwards
Many professional sports contracts are based on certain standard terms set down by governing bodies which are generally non-negotiable and which set out basic and essential terms. However the important personal elements tend to be the schedule to the agreement. This is likely to be extensive and its purpose is to deal with those detailed terms which are personal to the individual. 

Understandably parents often accompany their young son or daughter when signing their first contract. It is common these days that sports persons are signed up by agents as soon as possible and therefore every sports person or parent should always be asking questions about the following:

  • Insurance – Make sure you are protected!   Ask about what level of cover is provided by your club or organisation.  Does the governing body offer cover?  A sport career could be brought to an abrupt end through injury. And always consider personal cover. After all, you need to be covered by loss of earnings etc. if the worse should happen.

  • Salary- Do you know what the market rate is? Salary level obviously depends on circumstances such as the size of the organisation, individual honours and market rate.

  • Pay Reviews/Bonuses- Make sure adequate provisions are provided for pay reviews based on achievements/performance/international honours etc and look at terms on bonuses, and signing on fees. It is also important to consider whether there are tax implications.

  • Termination Rights- Do you or the club/organization have the option to terminate and if so on which conditions? For example do you have the right to leave if your club gets relegated? You need to make sure the terms are not too favourable to your club, although usually for young sports persons, the bargaining power is not too strong.

  • Commercial Rights- Consider personal appearances, endorsements, and image rights- do you get a share or commission? It is important to recognise your future value in terms of merchandising and promotions. 

  • Personal Sponsorship- Can you enter into your own deals? Do you have to use/wear kit provided by club/club sponsor and so on.  Beware of any potential conflicts!

  • Additional Benefits – Do you/should you have additional benefits? For example will your club or organisation provide accommodation if you are away from home? And what other additional benefits would be suitable to your sport?

  • Agents - Do you need one? Many regulatory bodies have standard form agency agreements so check that your agent’s agreement is compliant. How is your agent to be paid and for what services?
You do not necessarily need an agent in order to sign your first contract, but advice from a specialist solicitor is advisable. Be aware that litigation action against unfair contracts is a costly business, so getting it right at the onset will pay dividends to your career in the future.  But most important of all…..make sure you enjoy the experience.

Wishing you future success in your sporting endeavours!

For more information please contact Christian Edwards for an informal discussion on 01792 773 773 or email christian.edwards@jcpsolicitors.co.uk