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11 September 2018

Charles Russell Speechlys Sports Team advises on the reform of the Davis Cup

The Charles Russell Speechlys Sports Team have acted on behalf of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), on its ground-breaking 25-year, US$3 billion project with the sports investment group Kosmos to revamp the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas competition and create an annual season-ending Finals event.

The multidisciplinary Charles Russell Speechlys team, working closely with the ITF and their in-house team, advised on a wide range of legal issues on this transformational project, including commercial, media, finance, corporate, governance and regulatory matters, and assisting in the extremely complex and detailed negotiations.

Kosmos is a company founded and chaired by professional footballer Gerard Piqué, which has the support of Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, the Tokyo-based e-commerce company. Oracle founder, Larry Ellison, is also linked to the project.

The new format of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas will involve 24 teams competing in a home and away qualifying round (a key part of the Davis Cup’s heritage) in February, with the 12 winning teams advancing to the end-of-season Finals. Those teams will be joined by the four semi-finalists from the previous year’s tournament and two wildcards, with the new Davis Cup Finals, therefore featuring 18 nations competing over the course of a week, kicking off in November 2019.

Kelly Fairweather, Chief Operating Officer of the ITF, said: “We’re proud to have secured the long-term status of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas. We will be able to work with Kosmos to realise the huge potential of the competition and elevate it to new standards. We were delighted to have the Charles Russell Speechlys sports team on side, whose sport sector expertise, multi-disciplinary service, global footprint and combined unique regulatory and commercial insight were vital to completing the deal.”

Darren Bailey, consultant at Charles Russell Speechlys who led the firm's team advising ITF, commented: "A landmark sporting project of this scale requires a blend of legal expertise, a deep appreciation of the eco system of the sports movement and a practical understanding of the internal operations of international federations.

Being able to call on the truly multi-disciplinary Charles Russell Speechlys team of leading experts in their field to advise on the complex sporting, commercial, corporate and regulatory aspects of the project, combined with our extensive senior in house experience working for major sporting bodies was key to delivering the depth of support and advice the ITF needed to successfully conclude the deal.”

Nic Couchman, Head of Sport at Charles Russell Speechlys, commented: “Sport is increasingly a global business requiring a global perspective. We are fortunate to act for clients like the ITF who are at the forefront of developments in the sports sector. It was fantastic to be able to leverage our experience across all legal aspects of sport to assist Kelly and the ITF team on this transformative and iconic project.”