A U.K. Sports Law Discussion with Daniel Geey
By: Alanna Wolff
On September 11th, the Brooklyn Entertainment and Sports Law Society had a lunch time discussion with Daniel Geey, moderated by BLS’s Sports Law Professor, Jodi Balsam. Daniel Geey is a U.K. attorney and author of European football industry guide, Done Deal. He represents a variety of European clubs, players, and agents on takeovers, transfers, contract renegotiations, endorsement deals, broadcasting, reputation management, and dispute issues to name a few. Geey is a Partner in the Sports Group at the London-based Sheridans law firm.
The discussion began with a brief recount of how Professor Balsam and Daniel Geey met in London, and how powerful staying connected is within the sports industry. Geey then walked us through a typical day: he gets in around 7:30am and begins his “reactive” work. Essentially, reactive means that he goes through any reputation or press management issues before delegating certain aspects of work to his team that can best handle specific issues.
Professor Balsam then pivoted the conversation towards legal broadcasting, and the recent proliferation of media streams and technology changes in the sports industry. Geey comments on these changes in Done Deal. In our discussion, Geey stated that the U.S. is about two to four years ahead of the U.K. in sports media, but thinks bigger changes are coming to both countries, perhaps in the form of an eventual premiere league platform.
The discussion also talked at length about agents, and the drastic differences they face in the U.S. and U.K. In the U.S., agents are regulated by the Union and face many obstacles in order to become agents. We also learned that it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a living as an agent in the U.S., as compensation is regulated by the Union. Conversely, the U.K. is much more liberal about agents, requiring only a “declaration of good character” to become one. This essentially allows anyone to negotiate a multi-million pound deal. The agent also gets paid by the club on the players’ behalf. These numerous differences in agent regulations Geey highlighted as a major distinction in U.K. and U.S. sports law.
The discussion wrapped up with Geey giving the audience advice on how to pursue a career in sports law: enjoy the process. He emphasized there is no magic trick to success in the industry, but enjoying the journey and keeping your ultimate goal in mind is the best way to get there.