Peter McCormick OBE
Peter heads the Sports and Media/Entertainment practice at McCormicks and is an internationally recognised expert in these areas of work. Recently, he was voted by his peers one of the best Sports and Entertainment lawyers in the world, following research by the leading guide, Who's Who Legal.
Regarded as one of the top sports lawyers in the UK, Peter is best known as the Chairman of the Legal Advisory Group of the Premier League and Chairman of the League’s Football Board, both Executive positions. In August 2015, he was unanimously elected by the 20 Clubs of the League to be a Director of the Football Association (FA) and a member of the FA Council. Prior to these appointments, he was Chairman of the Premier League 2014/15.
In March 2016, he was elected by the Premier League and the Professional Game Board of the FA to the Football Regulatory Authority (FRA), which performs the regulatory, disciplinary and Rule-making functions of the FA. He is also an FA Ambassador, representing England and the FA at international matches abroad and away from Wembley.
In May 2016, he was appointed Chairman of the Panel of Ambassadors and a member of the FA Group Remuneration Committee and the FA Council Membership and Appointments Committee.
In August 2016, he was appointed Chairman of the FA Group Remuneration Committee, serving a six year term until July 2022. He remains a member of that Committee. In addition, he was made Chairman of the FA Premier League Medical Care Scheme Ltd, a company providing private health care to 95% of professionals in football in this country.
In July 2017, he was unanimously elected Vice Chairman of the FA, serving a five year term until July 2022.
In November 2018, he was elected Chairman of the Professional Game Board of the FA.
In November 2020, he was appointed interim Chairman of the FA, a position he held until January 2022, when the new independent Chair took office. Peter continues as the Premier League's appointed representative on the FA Board.
Also in January 2022, Peter was unanimously elected by the 20 Premier League Clubs as interim Chairman of the Premier League.
He is Chairman of Premier League Stadium Fund, a Trustee of the Football Foundation (the UK’s largest sporting charity), Chairman of The Football Foundation Trading Ltd and a Chairman of Sport Resolutions (UK). He is also an experienced Arbitrator and Mediator.
He advises businesses, organisations and individuals on Corporate and Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Media and Entertainment, Regulatory and Disciplinary, Defamation and Reputation Management issues.
Peter is also a leading national figure in Charities Law. He advises charity clients on a local and regional basis and also national charities, including The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and The Outward Bound Trust. He is Chairman of the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation, Chairman of War Memorials Trust and a Trustee of the Helen Feather Memorial Trust and several other charities. He is a Vice President of the Future 50 Campaign for Harrogate International Festivals. The Festivals have celebrated their 50th anniversary and launched a £1 million campaign to secure the next 50 years. Other Vice Presidents include Lesley Garrett, Mark Billingham, Lee Child, the Earl of Harewood, Peter James, Mark Lawson, Julian Lloyd Webber and Val McDermid.
He was awarded the OBE for services to charity on 1 January 2000. He was awarded the Order of Mercy, in July 2016, by the League of Mercy Foundation, for outstanding voluntary service.
Peter was voted the inaugural Yorkshire Lawyer of the Year and Niche Practice Lawyer of the Year by the Yorkshire Law Societies. He has been ranked as a leading expert by the Legal 500 and Chambers UK, the leading independent guides to the profession, in Sport, Media and Entertainment, Corporate and Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Defamation and Reputation Management, Professional Discipline, Charities, Agriculture and Estates and Contentious Trusts and Probate.
The Legal 500 ranks him as an outstanding and leading lawyer nationwide and a leading individual in Yorkshire and the Humber.
He was the inaugural Chairman of Visit Harrogate, the Destination Management Organisation for business and leisure tourism in the Harrogate district, one of the largest in the country. In April 2017, he was appointed a Harrogate Conference Ambassador for the Harrogate Convention Centre.
In 2008, Peter received the Lifetime Achievement in Business Award at the Ackrill Media Group Business Awards.
Best in Sports Law Services - Global Awards - Corporate Live Wire
One of the leading Sports & Entertainment lawyers in the World - Who's Who Legal
What People Say About Peter...
“Versatile rainmaker Peter McCormick of McCormicks is one of the UK’s best-connected sports lawyers” Legal 500
“Extensive exposure to media issues through sports work has helped make Peter McCormick of McCormicks one of the canniest advisors in the region.” Legal 500
"Peter McCormick has an 'impressively commercial overview of the sector,' according to sources. He is the firm's senior partner and has a broad corporate/commercial practice." Chambers UK - Charities
"Peter McCormick is known for his experience in sports law and has a reputation as being a powerful advocate of his client's case. Clients say he is a 'very commercial, straight-talking lawyer' who is 'incredibly driven, with a clear determination to succeed.'" Chambers UK - Professional Discipline
"Peter McCormick is a towering figure within football. His prominence stems largely from his role as the chairman of the Legal Advisory Group of the Premier League. Opponents, colleagues and clients alike are quick to attest to the value of the 'practical, common-sense advice,' provided by 'a lawyer who not only understands football, but always sees the commercial realities as well.'" Chambers UK - Sport
“Peter McCormick – ‘He always knows exactly what he’s doing, and he’s one of the best we’ve worked with.’” Chambers UK - Charities
“Renowned for his sports and media expertise, Peter McCormick of McCormicks is ‘a great communicator and outstanding with client relationships.’” Chambers UK - Corporate Finance
“Clients dub Peter McCormick ‘an intellectually clever, commercially astute lawyer who is very good to have on your side in a time of crisis.’ He applies his great depth of experience and legal knowledge in a calm and efficient manner.” Chambers UK - Professional Discipline
“Peter McCormick is ranked as a ‘star performer.’ This Harrogate-based team continues to operate on a national level for which a great deal of the credit must go to Peter McCormick, a solicitor whom clients simply could not praise enough. ‘A legend in the field of football’, he is extremely active for marquee client, the Premier League. ‘McCormick is an intellectually brilliant, commercially astute and hands-on lawyer – he’s as good as it gets’, proclaim happy clients. The team attracts praise for its commendable work ethic and excellent client skills: ‘these lawyers make you feel like you’re their priority – they’ll work day and night to get the job done.’” Chambers UK - Sport
“Offering ‘unrivalled industry knowledge in sport’, Peter McCormick at McCormicks continues to advise at the highest level in the football world.” UK Legal 500 - Sport
“Peter McCormick is a star figure within the world of football.” Chambers UK - Sport
“Peter McCormick at McCormicks is ‘an outstanding sports lawyer’ and a ‘striker who any informed client would choose to lead his team.’ Clients say the firm ‘punches way above its weight and is a true specialist in the field.’”UK Legal 500 - Sport
“Sources say ‘They are so helpful and explain matters in clear layman’s terms.’ Peter McCormick has an ‘impressively commercial overview of the sector.’” Chambers UK - Charities
“McCormicks’ Peter McCormick has an excellent reputation for contentious and non-contentious work across broadcasting, IP rights and sponsorship and for defamation complaints relating to print and broadcast media.”UK Legal 500 - Media and Entertainment
“The ‘first class’, ‘astute, commercial and efficient’ team at McCormicks provides a full range of services to charities and not-for-profit organisations nationally. Department Head, Peter McCormick, is ‘excellent’ and ‘provides wonderful support.’” UK Legal 500 - Charities
“The well-regarded Peter McCormick leads the team which handles both contentious and non-contentious work and acts for high-profile companies as well as individuals. The practice spans broadcasting, media, personal contracts, sponsorship, defamation and complaints relating to broadcasters and the press.” UK Legal 500 - Media and Entertainment
“McCormicks has ‘almost unparalleled experience in the sports world.’ Peter McCormick is a ‘first-class litigator.’” UK Legal 500 - Commercial Litigation
“According to one source this team ‘does what is said on the tin’. Peter McCormick is ‘thoroughly competent and absolutely responsive.’” Chambers UK - Professional Discipline
"McCormicks’ ‘excellent’ team has ‘unrivalled knowledge of football.’ The ‘very commercial’ Peter McCormick is highlighted for his ‘expertise’ and ‘sound advice.’” UK Legal 500 - Sport
“Peter McCormick is a prominent figure within sport, especially football. One client was highly impressed with his ‘very practical approach to commercial business – when I make big decisions, I run them past him. He’s so streetwise that while I know his expertise is in sports law, I feel confident asking him about anything!’” Chambers UK - Sport
“McCormicks’ Peter McCormick is ‘vastly experienced, savvy, an able advocate and a fearsome opponent’. As chairman of the Premier League Legal Advisory Group, he continues to advise on Portsmouth FC’s insolvency and the Olympic Stadium dispute. He was also involved in bringing to Harrogate Le Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France. Other clients include Leeds United FC, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and a number of non-league football clubs. Philip Edmondson is also recommended.” Legal 500
“McCormicks is ‘a market leader in the field of sports law’. Peter McCormick is an ‘able advocate and a fearsome opponent’, and his ‘vast experience has allowed him to gain the ear of The Premier League’. He recently acted in arbitration proceedings relating to the FA’s Rule K, brought by Leyton Orient concerning the decision to approve West Ham United’s move to the Olympic Stadium. Philip Edmondson joined from Cobbetts LLP to head the litigation team.” Legal 500
“Peter McCormick heads a multi-disciplinary team at McCormicks, and gives ‘invaluable advice’. Clients include Harrogate International Festivals.” - Legal 500
“McCormicks’ highly respected name partner Peter McCormick continues to advise the Premier League on football regulatory, brand reputation, commercial and IP matters. Other prominent clients are Leeds United FC and Yorkshire County Cricket Club.” - Legal 500
"Sources say Peter McCormick is 'a realy leader who ensures that his team delivers. He is not afraid to roll up his sleeves either, and everything he does he does with humour and charm.' He acts on a wide range of regulatory, commercial and contractual matters for the Premier League." - Chambers UK - Sport
"Although primarily known for its top-tier sports practice, McCormicks is 'also an excellent regional litigation firm that is able to deal with heavy High Court work', and is notable for 'outstanding service standards, value for money and success rate'. The 'irrepressible' Peter McCormick 'understands the economics and practicalities of cases.'" - Legal 500
"McCormicks' close association with the sector is underscored by Peter McCormick's advice to Visit Harrogate on securing Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France for the region. The firm also acts for the Premier League Charitable Fund." - Legal 500
"The 'outstanding' Peter McCormick of McCormicks is ably assisted by the 'very bright' Philip Edmondson. It handles all legal matters (apart from IP protection and media contracts) for the Premier League." - Legal 500
"At McCormicks, the 'sophisticated and shrewd' Peter McCormick is the 'doyen of football law', and handles a raft of work for the Premier League. Alongside the 'modest and charming' Philip Edmondson, MCormick is acting for the Premier League in the defence of a challenge brought by Leyton Orient FC to the decision to allow West Ham United to play its home games at the Olympic Stadium." - Legal 500
"Senior Partner Peter McCormick is identified by peers as a towering figure in football law, advising on a suite of matters as chairman of the Premier League's legal advisory group. A source observes: 'He has national credibility and comes cheaper than using a London lawyer who probably isn't as good.'" - Chambers UK - Sport
“Harrogate-based McCormicks’ practice is led by Peter McCormick and includes Philip Edmondson, who recently made partner. Edmondson handles contentious and non-contentious matters; he recently handled several matters for the Premier League, including defending the client in a high-profile arbitration brought by Leyton Orient concerning West Ham United’s move to the Olympic Stadium, which alleged that the move was in breach of competition law, the claim was eventually withdrawn. McCormicks are handling several matters for the same client, including advising on a complaint lodged with the European Commission by FIFPro, which alleges that aspects of the operation of the transfer market are anti-competitive and in breach of EU law.” - Legal 500
“McCormicks is ‘a terrific regional firm providing exceptional client service’. The team ‘knows how to conduct litigation before a disciplinary body’ and also stands out for its debt recovery and insolvency litigation expertise. ‘Bright and conscientious’ Philip Edmondson, who ‘knows how to get the best out of counsel’, and ‘savvy and engaging’ Peter McCormick jointly head the department. Clients include professional indemnity insurers, private investors and high-net worth individuals, international corporates, family companies and sporting organisations including the Premier League and various football clubs. Edmondson is handling a portfolio recovery matter for longstanding client, the Solicitors Indemnity Fund.” - Legal 500
“McCormicks is ‘an excellent firm that punches well above its weight’ and its agriculture and estates team attracts praise for being ‘pleasant to deal with and willing to consider fee structures to suit its clients’ needs’. Peter McCormick heads the practice and is singled out for his charity expertise; he regularly acts on agricultural law matters for charities including the Royal Horticultural Society, which recently instructed the firm on its acquisition of land and buildings for the development of its northern garden. Other key figures include newly promoted partners Heather Roberts, who advises the firm’s agricultural clients on property issues; Elaine Lightfoot, whose clients include the estate of the late John Strutt and its associated charities and trusts; Philip Edmondson, who handles a variety of litigation for the firm’s estates clients.” - Legal 500
“In keeping with the firm’s outstanding reputation in the sports field, McCormicks acts for a number of sporting charities; managing partner Peter McCormick is a trustee of the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sporting charity. In addition to its market-leading reputation in the sports field, the firm acts for charities in a variety of other fields, with longstanding clients including Harrogate International Festivals, which the firm recently advised on a range of employment matters as well as on the drafting of a sponsorship agreement for a literary festival. The firm also acts for the War Memorials Trust, which it is assisting with the redrafting of the client’s governing document in line with an expansion of work into Scotland. Other key figures include private client head Elaine Lightfoot and Heather Roberts, whose clients include the John Strutt Memorial Fund.” - Legal 500
“McCormicks’ team ‘is extremely impressive in complex litigation’. Key individuals in the group include practice head Philip Edmondson, who has expertise in multimillion-pound dilapidation claims, highly regarded name partner Peter McCormick and Heather Roberts who handles a broad range of contentious commercial property matters. Roberts has niche expertise in shooting leases; she recently acted for a high-profile client in a claim concerning a shooting lease.” - Legal 500
“‘Godfather of sports law’ Peter McCormick heads the sports department at Harrogate firm McCormicks and is ‘vastly experienced, savvy and has the ear of The Premier League’. Recent highlights for his key client include advice in relation to the continuing financial difficulties of Portsmouth FC, representing the League in the landmark challenge to the football creditor rules brought against it by HMRC, which ultimately led to a claim dismissal and costs award, and advising and drafting broadcasting and media access rules following the broadcast deal that came into effect in August 2016. Other football clients include the Premier League Charitable Fund and Leeds United FC. The firm also acts for shoot proprietors and assist members of the public and shoots with applications for shotgun and firearms certifications, including appeals. Philip Edmondson was promoted to the partnership in August 2016.” - Legal 500
“Peter McCormick leads the practice at McCormicks, which is well known for its work in the football world. The team also represents legal, accountancy, and pharmacy professionals in proceedings brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Senior associate Sara Morgan is a member of the National Pharmacy Association’s legal panel and acted for pharmacy professionals facing allegations, including dispensing out of date drugs, breach of confidentiality, and delay in the delivery of drugs for a patient who subsequently died. McCormick holds a number of appointments, including as chairman of the legal advisory group to the Premier League and as a Director of the Football Association. Last year he continued to advise the Premier League in relation to proposals to revise the disciplinary aspects of FIFA’s Agents Regulations. Peter Minnikin was promoted to partner in 2016.” - Legal 500
“McCormicks is well known for its work for the Premier League, though it also acts for clients across a range of other sports on contentious, commercial and regulatory matters. ‘Market-leading’ name partner Peter McCormick has ‘excellent judgement’ and is ‘vastly experienced’; he advised key client the Premier League on the continuing financial difficulties of Portsmouth FC. McCormick is also a ‘fearsome opponent’ in contentious matters: he successfully represented the Premier League against the HMRC’s challenge to the football creditors rule, and defended it in arbitration brought by Leyton Orient FC concerning the League’s decision to approve West Ham United FC’s move to the Olympic Stadium. The ‘very impressive, cost-effective’ Philip Edmondson, who made partner in August 2016, is ‘a hard worker with a good eye for detail’ and ‘exudes an air of calm capability’. An experienced arbitrator and litigator, Edmondson acted for Professional Game Match Officials in proceedings against a former referee looking to set up a rival training programme. Shooting is a niche area of expertise for the practice, which acts for various shoot proprietors.” - Legal 500
“McCormicks provides ‘excellent’ advice. The Corporate Team ‘has an excellent appetite for work and attention to detail’ and specialises in advising on complex finance arrangements for a broad range of clients, including SMEs, private investors, high-net-worth individuals, international corporates, family companies, charities, sports organisations and clients from the hospitality and leisure sector. Senior partner Peter McCormick is highly regarded; he advises the Premier League on corporate matters, including governance and board functions. Recent highlights include advising the Premier League Charitable Fund on joint venture arrangements with Comic Relief, Barclays and others; advising a hotel on a multi-million pound refinancing and development facility; and assisting the Isthmian League with changes to its constitution. Other clients include Leeds United, Cleveland Process Designs, Plantagenet Media and Walsall FC.” - Legal 500
"Peter McCormick is praised by commentators for being "extremely experienced, savvy and commercial." He is known to be a leading light in football, serving as chairman of the Premier League's legal advisory group. According to a source, "he leads by example and is one of the most impressive lawyers I have ever worked with." - Chambers UK
"Senior partner Peter McCormick leads the firm's agricultural and estates practice. Sources say: "The people he acts for like him and he does well by them." McCormick regularly advises large landed estates." - Chambers UK