Sports Ticker 14 – PRO14, World TeamTennis and Man United v Football Manager

Published on 08 June 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of the RPC Sports Ticker - providing fortnightly bite-size updates from around the sports industry.

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In this edition, we look at the financial impact of COVID-19 on EFL clubs, as well as more positive news of private equity investment into the Guinness PRO14 competition.  We also look at plans to enable fans to attend the World TeamTennis tournament, Man United's trade mark challenge against Sega regarding Football Manager, and the recent disqualification of a Formula E driver for impersonation. 

As always, if there are any areas you'd like more information on (or if you have any questions or feedback), please let us know or get in touch with your usual RPC contact.

Football clubs forced to tackle difficult questions on COVID-19 finances

Last week saw Premier League teams return to training, preparing for the 2019-20 season to restart as early as 17 June.

World Team Tennis to start in July, with fans!

World TeamTennis (WTT), a mixed-gender professional tennis league based in the US, will start its 2020 season in mid-July and intends to play the entire season in front of fans at The Greenbrier, West Virginia – with a cool $5m prize pool available.

Private equity invests in the PRO14

Luxembourg-based private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has announced a strategic partnership with the Guinness PRO14 club competition through which it will acquire a 28% stake in the competition in exchange for a £120m investment.

Audi drives away from Daniel Abt over Formula E eSports cheating

Formula E driver Daniel Abt has been fined, disqualified and now dropped by Audi after allowing a professional gamer to compete in his place during Formula E's eSports ‘ace at Home Challenge’.

Man United take on Football Manager over use of trade mark

Man United’s claim against Sega and Sports Interactive (SI) for trade mark infringement is back in the spotlight.

Extra time...

And finally…with the English football season currently on pause, the Upper Tribunal (UT) has sought to provide our football fix. The UT has confirmed that referees engaged by Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) are not their employees and therefore is not liable to pay income tax and national insurance. The case first started when PGMOL, the body that represents football referees in England, contested a tax bill from HMRC which said it owed tax for 2014/15 and 2015/16 as the employer of the referees. However, the Upper Tribunal held that contractual arrangements between PGMOL and referees did not give rise to a contract of service and accordingly it did not have tax liabilities in respect of the officials in question. Click here to access the full RPC article.

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