Charles Russell Speechlys hires industry experts from World Rugby, FA, BHA to new-model sports practice

With integrity in sports in the spotlight, Charles Russell Speechlys is delighted to confirm the appointment of Darren Bailey, former Head of Legal at World Rugby and Director of Football Governance and Regulation at the FA, and Danielle Sharkey, former in-house Legal and Compliance Adviser at the British Horseracing Authority.

Darren has sixteen years’ experience working at the highest levels of international rugby and English football. Danielle spent eight years advising British racing’s governing body on legal issues, integrity and regulatory operations.

Nic Couchman, Head of Sport at Charles Russell Speechlys, said:

“With questions about integrity in sport multiplying daily, and the sports sector facing increasing scrutiny and regulation, our clients need lawyers with a deep understanding of the administration and business of sport. Darren and Danielle fit this mould – both have extensive experience inside sport which allows them to fully appreciate the client’s position, better enabling them to anticipate issues and implement practical legal, integrity, regulatory and governance solutions. At a time when sport is rapidly transforming, we’re delighted they’re joining us to give our new-model sports practice a unique edge.”

In his previous role, Darren Bailey was responsible for the global regulation and legislative affairs of World Rugby and oversaw the legal aspects of five Rugby World Cups, including the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai – the first time the World Cup had been hosted in the Middle East. During his time at The FA Darren established the Integrity Unit and led a team of 75 managing all aspects of the regulation of English football. He was also appointed to Chair the EU expert Group on Good Governance which identified the 10 Principles of Good Governance for sports bodies.

Darren Bailey said:

“Having worked in-house and been a client of legal services in the sports sector over many years, and in several jurisdictions, I appreciate what is required to provide sports clients with the support, advice and understanding they need. The combination of a fully integrated range of legal services, on a global platform, delivered by specialist practitioners with a deep appreciation and insight of the administration and business of sport, is a really exciting initiative to be part of. In my experience, it does not exist elsewhere in the market. I am really looking forward to being part of a new vibrant team helping clients achieve their sporting and business aspirations."

At the British Horseracing Authority, Danielle Sharkey acted on some of the highest-profile integrity cases in recent years, involving issues such as betting, corruption, inside information and running and riding.

Danielle Sharkey said:

“Having been very much at the forefront of developments in sports integrity in my previous role at the British Horseracing Authority, regarded by many as a leader in the field, I’m delighted to bring my experience and industry insight to Charles Russell Speechlys’ new-model practice. It’s an exciting prospect and I believe with my insider’s understanding of what is required I can bring an extra level of insight to the team.”

Charles Russell Speechlys provides a unique offering to clients. Our sports team offers a breadth of specialisms with a deep understanding of the industry, supported by a full service firm.

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