Sources describe Íñigo de Lacalle as a “top sports lawyer” who regularly “advises clubs, agents and players” in the football industry on a range of matters.
Iñigo began his career in the corporate finance and M&A department of Lovells LLP (now Hogan Lovells). He then moved to the sports and entertainment department of Garrigues Abogados y Asesores Tributarios (2005–2011) before joining Senn, Ferrero. In recent years he has been involved in negotiating sports, artistic and musical contracts of all kinds, as well as corporate management and contractual drafting, negotiation and advice for operating and assigning image rights, sponsorship contracts, brand licence contracts, etc.
What attracted you to a career in sports law?
I commenced my professional career in M&A. I had no idea about this industry and when I started at Garrigues I was offered with this possibility. When I was told that I could advise athletes, clubs and artists, I was immediately convinced to enrol in the department.
What did you find most challenging about entering the sports industry?
The necessity of continued study. The sports industry is always developing and as a lawyer you must always update yourself. Never stop studying.
What has been the most significant development in sports law since you started practising?
I would highlight how it has evolved and become a professional industry.
To what extent is the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) an effective body in resolving disputes?
As sports is a worldwide industry with global litigation scenarios, CAS provides the security when resolving disputes.
How has the sports and entertainment market been affected by the coronavirus outbreak?
I believe this coronavirus outbreak has provoked a great financial crisis and will adjust the figures in all sectors involved in the sports and entertainment market. Additionally, many disputes will arise due to this financial crisis.
What has been the most memorable case you have worked on to-date, and why?
Probably the case with reference CAS 2018/A/6040 Club Atlético Boca Juniors v. CONMEBOL & Club Atlético River Plate because of the complexity of the case, the great lawyers we had on the other side and the pressure of the media.
Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?
Due to the covid-19 situation a new lifestyle will arise, and the industry will have to adapt itself to said new reality.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
From my master, Javier Ferrero - study, study and study.
Iñigo de Lacalle has a Law Degree and Consulting Degree from the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (E-1 ICADE). He began his career in the corporate finance and M&A department at Lovells LLP (now Hogan Lovells). He went on to the Sports and Entertainment department of Garrigues Abogados y Asesores Tributarios (2005-2011) before joining to Senn, Ferrero, Asociados Sports and Entertainment.
The prestigious directory Chambers Europe included Iñigo as Leading Lawyer in Intellectual Property in its editions of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Additionally, in the years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, he has been recognized by Best Lawyers in the area of Intellectual Property and in 2019, 2020 (“Lawyer of the Year” in Madrid) and 2021 in the sports area.
In recent years he has been involved in negotiating sports, artistic and musical contracts of all kinds, as well as corporate management and contractual drafting, negotiation, and advice for operating and assigning image rights, sponsorship contracts, brand license contracts, etc. In addition, he has taken part in arbitration procedures in the world of domestic and international sport, and in particular, before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, as well as all kinds of disciplinary procedures before the different commissions created for the purpose by UEFA, FIFA and other national and international bodies.
Additionally, he has also provided legal services as an in-house lawyer for a first division Spanish Football Club and is specialized in M&A legal services provided to companies for the acquisition of football clubs.
He teaches an MBA in Management of Sports Entities at the Universidad Europea de Madrid, also in the master’s in international Sports Law at ISDE and has published numerous articles.
Appointed in 2020 as a sports arbitrator for the Centro Brasileiro de Mediaçao e Arbitragem (CBMA).
Iñigo is a member of Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid (Madrid Bar Association).
He speaks spanish and english.