11/28/2010

The legal structure of league sports teams

The London law firm Charles Russell reports that it has
seen increasing interest from [sports] clubs in the type of legal structure through which they operate. This is rightly so, as the choice of structure will have a significant effect on the financial and legal position of the club and the risk and liability assumed by committee members. Should the club find itself faced with financial difficulties or a claim, structure is key. Increasingly, clubs are (regardless of their level) reviewing the way that they are set-up and adopting a corporate structure by setting up a company to manage their affairs.
As a result, the firm has published Club Structures: A Guide to Club Structures for National League System and Other Football Clubs -- a 30-page, illustrated explanation of the types of structures available under British law, the advantages and disadvantages of each, a step-by-step guide to incorporation, and guidance on how to comply with Football Association ownership rules. Because it was written with the UK in mind, the "National League" refers to football rather than baseball, and "football" refers to what Americans call "soccer." So, although the details will be of greatest interest to British team owners, the issues and analytical approach discussed in the publication also will be helpful to Americans and others.