Northern Ireland Manager Michael O’Neill speaks at 7th Annual Sports Law Conference

Over 130 members of the legal, sporting, and voluntary and community sectors were in attendance for the 7th Annual Sports Law Conference which took place at Malone Golf Club in Belfast on Friday 9thNovember 2018.

Now in its seventh year, the Sports Law Conference has become an anticipated feature of the legal and sports calendar and is organised by the NI Sports Forum and Law Society of Northern Ireland.

In keeping with previous year’s conference delegates had the opportunity to hear from a number of key note speakers including The Honourable Mr. Justice O’Hara, Michael O’Neill, the current Northern Ireland manager, Professor Jack Anderson and Colin Murdock former Northern Ireland international footballer and now solicitor FA registered lawyer.

Originally the idea of Lisburn Solicitor and former rugby player Keith McGarry, Judge Ken Nixon, and Omagh solicitor and a former leading Tyrone GAA player and u-21 manager Feargal Logan, the sports and law conference has been the natural reaction to an increasing synergy between sport and law between the legal, medical and sporting professions.

Over the years the conference has examined important sports law-related themes including business and sport, disciplinary processes featuring mediation and arbitration, sporting injury risks, equality and good governance as well as issues in the news including the impact of concussion injuries in sport.


The popularity of the conference has been reflected not only in the increasing number of attendees drawn from the legal profession, governing bodies of sport and their clubs but the calibre of speakers.

Commenting the President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, Eileen Ewing said:

“The Law Society of Northern Ireland is delighted to support the 7th Sports Law Conference. It remains the definitive Sports Law Conference in both the North and South of Ireland, offering discussion and insight on issues of importance to the legal and sporting professionals. It is an excellent legal and sporting platform which continues to showcase the thought leaders of tomorrow”.

Judge Nixon, who is also the Honorary Secretary of the Northern Ireland Sports Forum said:

This years Conference was our biggest yet and we were delighted to have a great range of speakers including our special guest and Northern Ireland Manager Michael O’Neill. Like Colin Murdock before him, Michael provided the attendees with an overview of his contract experiences as a player through the initial stages of the Bosman ruling to how managers and clubs work alongside players and their representatives whilst in discussion with Mark Sidebottom. Player and athlete responsibilities in the world of Anti-Doping was well covered by Wendy Henderson and additional inputs from Orlagh Kelly from Briefed GDPR specialists, Jonny Madill and Andrew Nixon of Sheridans and Jack Anderson made this a very successful Conference.

Pictured is Keith McGarry of Conn & Fenton, NI Sports Forum Honorary Secretary Ken Nixon, President of the Law Society Eileen Ewing, Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill and NI Sports Forum Executive Manager Ciaran Kearney

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