Leading Sports Law Barrister

Recognised as one of the UK’s top sports law barristers, Jim’s experience in Sports Law has earned him the label of “leader in the field”, with The Legal 500 describing him as “one of the most trusted silks for sports work”.  He has appeared before FAPL, English FA, Welsh FA., Scottish Premier League, UEFA and FIFA disciplinary tribunals.

For many years Jim has combined his criminal and sports law practice and advised across the full range of sports as regards corruption allegations, including match fixing, bribery, doping and illegal/fraudulent payments to agents/club officials/match officials as well as bribes allegedly paid for television rights.

In the season 2018/2019 Jim acted for and advised Watford FC in several arbitral matters, and for some of the First team squad in FA disciplinary cases, including FA v Troy Deeney, the Watford striker who was charged by the FA for comments in an interview that were said to question the integrity of the referee. FA v Etienne Capoue, advised the player in a wrongful dismissal claim.”

A major figure in football disputes and one of the top choices for football players, managers and clubs who find themselves in difficulties with sports governing bodies. His disciplinary prowess is also recognised by the RFU, which has appointed him chairman of its appeals panels, and engaged him to look into its disciplinary framework…
… Jim Sturman KC is excellent on regulatory proceedings; the go-to man. In sports disputes, where you are often in front of a panel, he wins cases that he has no right to win. His criminal background gives him an edge in the cross examination and handling of witnesses.
Chambers and Partners

Jim has advised prospective purchasers of football Clubs, and Directors of Football Clubs on the “Fit and Proper Person’s test” applied by The Football League and on the “Owners and Directors Test” applied by The Premier League.

…One of the Bar’s most accomplished sports practitioners. Instructing solicitors refer to him as “a kingpin of sports law,” who offers a complete knowledge of the sector. Where Sturman really excels is in his approach, with clients delighted to report that “he’s not quite what you expect when you go to meet a silk – there is no over-the-top formality; he’s approachable and he really rolls up his sleeves.” As another source puts it more earthily: “Some barristers have their heads firmly stuck up their arses – you’ll never get that from Jim.” As is to be expected of a leading criminal barrister, he is also tremendous on his feet, as peers concede. They say of him: “He has the most fantastic judgement; he can read a court and pitch his points perfectly.” Perhaps the best indication of his standing in the sector comes with this confession from a sports industry professional: “If Jim appears in a case with me, it’s a clear indication of how seriously I take the case – I view him as a true heavyweight to have in my corner.
Chambers & Partners

Jim has conducted “doping” cases across the whole range of sports (including appearances before the FA, UEFA, CAS and the FIA), and he regularly acts on behalf of Premiership footballers in relation to libel and false attribution cases. He has also been retained to advise in a number of match fixing or improper betting allegations across a range of sports, including football, cricket and horse racing.

Jim’s practice has for many years included advising in relation to corruption allegations in a sports context, both in the criminal and regulatory spheres, in the UK and throughout the world. Jim was part of the team that acted for Mohammed Bin Hammam in his successful appeal to the CAS against his lifetime ban from football imposed by FIFA over allegations of corruption linked to the FIFA elections.

Remains one of the most respected barristers in this area, and is a driving force at the set. He has extensive experience in both football and rugby cases, but is capable of handing all sorts of sports-related sports disputes. He has an extremely strong track record in acting on disciplinary cases, and, such is his reputation, he sits as the chairman of the RFU appeals panel. He is increasingly active in corruption and match-fixing cases, and has acted on numerous agents’ disputes.

He brings his outside knowledge and experiences on the criminal side to bear on our cases.” “He does exceptionally good work on paper, but he is also a top-drawer advocate.” One solicitor commented: “He has better judgement than goal-line technology.
Chambers & Partners

He is regularly instructed by football clubs such as Chelsea Football Club, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, West Ham United, Newcastle United FC, Wigan, Millwall, Wimbledon AFC, Norwich City, Brighton and Hove Albion FC and Charlton Athletic, as well as numerous individual players and management including Graeme le Saux, Jimmy Hasselbaink, Frank Lampard, Kieron Dyer, Joe Cole, John Terry, Gus Poyet, Mauricio Taricco, Jose Mourinho, Marcel Desailly, Michael Essien, Mido, Robbie Savage, Emre Belozoglu, Jens Lehmann, Robbie Keane, Didier Zakora, Michael Ballach, Michael Dawson, Jermain Jenas, Didier Drogba and Steve Evans, the manager of Crawley Town in July 2010. Jim has frequently advised and acted for Clubs charged with failing to control their fans and/or players both before the FA and UEFA.”

Jim has acted for the Football Association in relation to charges brought against Roy Keane (for his autobiography) and charges against various players and Arsenal FC arising out of a match at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Arsenal. He has Acted for Marcel Desailly before UEFA Appeals Tribunal in Geneva, and before UEFA Disciplinary Commission on behalf of Chelsea FC, Jose Mourinho, Steve Clarke and Les Miles in relation to the Barcelona v Chelsea Champions League fixture in 2004.

A Top drawer advocate. He has better judgement than goal line technology
Legal 500

Jim has advised many managers and players in relation to allegations of inappropriate media comments. Recently he has advised several clubs in relation to “tapping up” allegations, as well as acting in “bad tackle” personal injury cases and in several contractual disputes between players and agents over fees due for services rendered in transfer negotiations.

Jim has represented CSKA Moscow before UEFA opposing Parma’s protest against the result of the 2004/2005 UEFA Cup Semi-final, and has advised players and UEFA on doping cases.

Jim has acted for the defence in FIFA disciplinary cases, notably representing Serbian player Rajkovic in his successful appeal against a one year ban from all football after an allegation of spitting at the end of the 2008 Olympic semi-final.

Jim appeared before the Court for Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) on behalf of Wigan FC in the landmark Andy Webster case to determine the level of compensation to be awarded when a player terminates his contract with a club outside the ‘protected period’ (A.17 FIFA Regs). He has represented Chelsea FC before FIFA appeals committee and has advised National Associations in relation to FIFA disputes. Jim has acted for agents who have successfully sued players for “cutting them out” of deals despite representation agreements. Jim has acted in such cases before the FIFA DRC as well as the English High Court.

Jim has advised prospective purchasers of football Clubs, and Directors of Football Clubs on the “Fit and Proper Person’s test” applied by The Football League and on the “Owners and Directors Test” applied by The Premier League.

Jim sits as a Chairman of RFU Appeals Panels as well as acting for Clubs in PFCC cases.