Sports Law has developed as a niche area of law which deals with many of the existing areas of law such as commercial contracts, regulatory law, employment and immigration law, property law and IP & IT Law which sports bodies, clubs and athletes require advise upon.
Our Sports Team
Niall Geaney in our Dublin office advises individual athletes, local and national sports clubs and governing bodies on all the above related matters
Niall is actively involved in a variety of sports for many years and can guide you with any legal assistance required.
As our firm is a small boutique legal firm you will be dealing with Niall personally at all times and it is his belief that through this personal interaction you will receive a very much hands on and direct assistance with the issues you are facing.
Niall Geaney currently sits on the FIA Formula One Cost Cap Adjudication Panel as a Judge at International Level. He also has significant experience in advising on Motorsport Disciplinary and Regulatory matters nationally and has advised the National Governing Body (Motorsport Ireland) on numerous occasions. Niall's knowledge of National and International Rules and Regulations surrounding the sport of Motorsport are vast which he has developed through his interest and experience of the sport and is amongst only a small handful of lawyers in Ireland with such experience and knowledge.
Niall advises the a number of other sports governing bodies on a broad range of legal issues with a particular interest in unique and extreme sports.
Corporate Structure and Governance Compliance Advice
Niall has a demonstrated past in ensuring that some of the best-known and largest sports clubs within their sectors are compliant with governing rules and codes. Niall has been involved in proactively developing governance codes for sports organisations that directly correlate to the Official Governance Code guidelines. His experience in sporting governance extends to the following:
- Legal Counsel for Rugby League Ireland in important transition period for the sport in Ireland
- Advising Motorsport Ireland in the drafting and implementation of changes to General Competition Rules
- Acting in the capacity of a legal consultant on issues such as data protection regulations, corporate governance and public relations
- Advising on the best corporate structure for Sports Organisations and Clubs.
- Advising on grant applications and funding opportunities for small sports NGBs and clubs
Disciplinary Hearing Representation
Niall is available to represent a range of clients from various sporting backgrounds on all issues that arise in relation to commercial, regulatory, and disciplinary disputes before national and international dispute resolution bodies.
- Advising and representing institutions, clubs, and individual athletes before governing bodies such as IRFU, Rugby League Ireland, WAKO, GAA, and Motorsport Ireland
- Selection disputes for international competitions
- On- and off-field disciplinary matters
- Actively involved in drafting and implementing regulations in relation to disciplinary procedures
- Advising clients on options of Alternative Dispute Resolution through SDSI Procedures - http://sportdisputesolutions.ie/sdsi-arbitration-mediation-rules/
Club / Player Representation
Niall is accomplished in representing individual players and clubs across various sports on both an international and national transfers right down to grassroots level. Niall can represent clients in all aspects of the transfer from negotiation of terms of contracts to issues relating to work permits and immigration law.
- Advising on basic club contracts for players of team sports
- Advising and representing international and inter-club transfers of Rugby Union players and Rugby League players
- Advising and representing athletes involved in the GAA, IABA, and DDSL
- Advising and representing Motorsport Ireland athletes and licence holders
- Drafting and advising on sponsorship agreements, branding agreements including brand ambassador agreements
- Post Career Opportunities and termination agreements
Image Rights / Reputation Protection
Niall has acquired extensive knowledge in all forms of intellectual property rights which are vital in protecting the reputation of established and aspiring athletes. Aspects of protecting images rights that he advises on include:
- Intellectual property (trademark, copyright, patent) creation
- ‘Passing Off’ cases involving image rights
- Drafting image rights structures
- Negotiating commercial arrangements and use of image rights with sponsors
- Advising on taking action against defamatory comments made in any media outlet against sports athletes and clubs
- Providing protection against unofficial social media accounts including application for take down orders through the Irish Courts.
- General Social Media Compliance issues in sports
Sporting Venues and Events
Niall has vast experience and expertise in advising on the organisation of many national and international sporting events.
He advice's on issues such as commercial agreements, sponsorship, funding agreements, planning and noise related issues. Niall also advises extensively on liability issues that arise in respect of sporting venues.
Negotiation and drafting of leases of sports venues, licences of sports grounds and acquisition and disposal of venues.
Some of our current sport law related work in 2019 include -
- Advising Motorsport Ireland on Social Media Compliance issues and interpretation of regulations
- Legal Assistance at Motorsport Ireland Tribunal of Inquiry Hearings and Appeal Hearings
- Representation of an individual athlete involved in a serious personal injury claim
- Rugby League of Ireland - General Legal Counsel