I lead Tenet’s Sports and Entertainment Sector. My mantra is that prevention is better than cure – it is also cheaper. I should know, I’m an experienced commercial litigator who is used to dealing with complex matters, particularly where reputation is at stake. I protect high profile individuals and corporates through a legal advisory role. I am passionate about providing educational training. Throughout this blog it is something I “bang the drum” about consistently.

In short, I help not only solve commercial disputes for businesses or high-profile individuals (we like to call them problems/bumps in the road), but also specialise in all areas of contentious media law including “phone hacking” claims and issues relating to fraud. Putting aside “the law”, I also act as a commercial “sounding board” for a number of ex-premier league and international footballers. On a day-to-day basis I work with corporates (FTSE 100 companies through to SME’s/Fintech’s), sporting clubs/bodies, together with high profile individuals and agencies across the sports and entertainment sector.

Prevention can be achieved through education, it is essential to the success and productivity of both my individual and corporate clients. At Tenet we know many of the problems our clients face could have been avoided through education. Our experience within the sector tells us the potential risk of disputes, fraud and reputational damage can be reduced with the right education and training. We can’t train everyone to be experts, but we can take them with us on our journey. Issues will always arise that can’t be avoided. That is unfortunately part of life. The difference is that we are there every step of the way. From the outset we implement a clear, cost-effective strategy to help achieve our client’s objective.

All of our lawyers have at least 5 years’ experience in national and international law firms, they are trusted professionals who deliver a bespoke service to every UK and global client we work with.

Unfortunately, from working with leading sports and entertainment individuals for many years, I have come across a significant amount of “horror stories”. This blog is not long enough to list them all, but I can share the common theme.  Companies, trusted advisors, acquaintances, (the list could go on), have taken advantage of the privileged financial position or the reputation the individual has worked hard to achieve.

The number of fraudulent “scams” I have seen where substantial sums of money has been lost is beyond belief. These range from fraudulent investments, being duped to promote fraudulent schemes on social media, through to traditional “Ponzi” schemes and more.

My aim is to not only help reduce the risk of this happening by providing educational training and ensuring effective due diligence is undertaken, but to also act swiftly and decisively in a crisis.

One of the first things I ask a client is, can you identify red flags? Would you or your team know how to try to prevent financial crime or reduce the impact of fraud? The answer…nearly always no! I mean why would they? No one ever teaches it. That is the reason I am focussed on education. Education for me is key in all walks of life. Knowledge is power and helps reduce the risk of potential pit falls. Being empowered by knowledge will help embed a more positive and balanced mental and physical wellbeing, ensuring the focus remains on primary objectives.

That is why I enjoy working with clients and providing training, whether that is to corporates, sports clubs/bodies or agencies. The training I provide can be focussed on how to avoid general disputes, through to football clubs/players and stakeholders around how to protect your reputation both on and offline, together with how to spot and avoid common frauds prevalent in the industry.

Our team’s exposure to dealing with issues in both the virtual and real world helps us deliver fraud prevention planning and minimise the potential risks for our clients. Nobody wins when it comes to fraud and the reality is that the affects go far beyond just the victim. It can have devastating effects on family, friends, colleagues as well as mental health.

Other common issues I help with is protecting reputation. I am often asked why is reputation important? Because for anything we strive for in life or business, reputation could be a barrier to reaching our full potential. Successful sporting individuals, clubs, bodies or businesses spend years building their reputation, protecting their brand and carefully carving out a public image. In my many years as a Reputation Management & Sports Solicitor it’s astonishing to see how few have a plan in place to protect their reputation, reduce their risk and respond when things go wrong.

Regardless of profile, talented professionals across the sports and entertainment industry are just like the rest of us. We are all struggling to navigate the constantly changing algorithms, social media platforms and latest metaverse. Sure, we are only human and while mistakes can be overlooked the press and the internet never forgets. The same applies to corporates, but with a slightly different “twist”.

In a world where Netflix makes fraudsters famous and influencers can earn a living from promoting scams, fraud infiltrates every part of our lives. Potential risks are just one click away, individuals and businesses across the sports and entertainment industry are increasingly vulnerable. Whether a client is high profile, just starting out in their career or an established corporate or sporting body, social media can be a barrier to success.

I speak to sporting professionals regularly and they fully understand their own reputation has an impact on the reputation of their sport, team or club. However, this doesn’t translate to effectively managing the risk of damaging that reputation. A reputational crisis can do considerable harm both financially, emotionally, personally (including family life) and goes way beyond public embarrassment. For a corporate, it can cause significant damage to revenue and client base.

Tenets passion for education leads us to collaboration with partners who are at the top of their field. As a partner of The Lighthouse Group, we can share our specialist expertise and insights with the network. We are in good company with businesses who want to build real relationships and achieve long term success for themselves and their clients.

Integrity and trust are values we live and breathe at Tenet, so the partnership is a perfect fit.

We support The Lighthouse Group in their efforts to deliver life changing interventions, including mental health and wellbeing programmes as we know only too well the work we do goes hand in hand with these causes.

We are delighted to be on this journey with The Lighthouse Group and partners, if you have any questions or would like to know more about Tenet and the work we do, drop me a message, my inbox is always open.

James Modley, Tenet Compliance
james.modley@tenetlaw.co.uk
07776 663492