Adam is one of the most experienced junior barristers in sports law at the UK bar, having practised exclusively in international sports arbitration from 2020 to 2023 as part of the world-leading team at Kellerhals Carrard Lausanne, where he still retains an “Of Counsel” position.
His areas of expertise include all types of doping violation, football transfer disputes, commercial, corruption and ethics, competition admissibility issue, and disciplinary. He has appeared countless times before the CAS and first-instance sports tribunals, and has detailed knowledge of CAS’ procedures, arbitrators, and counsel. He has also acted in proceedings before the FIFA Players’ Status Chamber. He has conducted advocacy from locations as wide-ranging as New York and Monaco.
Adam has acted repeatedly for several years for key international stakeholders in global sport. He has acted for internationally recognised, top-level boxers, footballers, and football clubs. He has acted in relation to Olympic re-testing cases. He has acted in urgent provisional suspension cases in relation to major competitions. He has experience of challenges to CAS jurisdiction.
In an English law context, Adam has previously sat on disciplinary and appeals panels, and he has acted in personal injury, property damage, product liability and commercial cases with a sports focus.
Adam has acted in the full range of doping cases, including Presence, Use, Whereabouts, Evasion, Tampering and Possession cases. He is familiar with Athlete Biological Passport cases. He has acted in cases related to the Russian state-sponsored doping program and the Moscow LIMS. He has cross-examined world champion and famous athletes from a wide range of sports. He has cross-examined scientific and medical experts on complex questions of laboratory procedure and medical causation. He has conducted Olympic re-testing cases and obtained the disqualification of medals. He has uncovered fraudulent explanations for doping offences including cases where the explanation was formed and maintained by an entire group of sport officials. He has also previously represented well-known athletes in doping cases, including through his prior involvement with the Sport Resolutions pro bono panel.
Selected cases include:
- Acting before the federation tribunal and before CAS to obtain Tampering violations against various national federation officials and an athlete who were involved in a group plot to provide a fraudulent explanation for Whereabouts Failures.
- Acting to obtain a Tampering violation in respect of a world and Olympic champion, both before the first instance disciplinary tribunal and on appeal to CAS.
- Acting before CAS to obtain the disqualification of a 4x100m relay team’s silver medals at the Tokyo Olympics, following a positive test to one of the team.
- Acting before the federation tribunal in relation to various charges arising out of an FBI investigation under the Rodchenkov Act.
- Acting before a national anti-doping panel in relation to the retirement provisions of the WADC and their application to a well-known sportsperson.
- Acting before CAS in various Use cases arising out of the Moscow LIMS data.
- Acting before CAS on multiple Whereabouts cases, including as to the “no negligence” test, the workings of the ADAMS system, and fraudulent explanations.
- Acting before the federation tribunal on a Tampering charge in relation to the attempted bribery of a doping control officer.
- Acting before the federation tribunal in relation to the upholding of a provisional suspension before a major competition, and related competition management decisions referred to the Disputes Committee.
Football and commercial
Adam has significant experience of a wide variety of football transfer related disputes, as well as other commercial disputes within a sports context. He has experience of such cases both within FIFA and CAS proceedings. He frequently conducts witness handling of players, coaches, managers, club staff and representatives, agents, and federation staff and representatives. He frequently drafts and pleads as to issues of contract formation, termination with just cause and the calculation of damages.
Selected cases include:
- Acting for a top-tier club in its successful defence of an appeal to CAS by another club against the decision of the FIFA PSC that the second club was obliged to make payment to the first club in respect of the transfer fee for a player who died tragically in a plane crash.
- Acting before CAS for the player in relation to his termination with just cause in light of the non-payment of salary by his club, allegedly due to Covid-19 related financial constraints.
- Acting before CAS for a Premier League footballer and his former club in relation to a claim of termination without just cause by his previous former club, where the player alleged that he had never signed the employment contract and the signatures therein had been fabricated.
- Acting before CAS for a top-tier European club in relation to the method of calculating a sell-on fee in relation to a Premier League footballer.
- Acting before CAS for a top-tier European club in relation to its defence of payments allegedly invoiced and due to an intermediary.
- Acting before CAS for a top-tier European club in relation to claims made against it by multiple assistant coaches, where the key issue was whether those assistant coaches had ever concluded employment contracts, including in light of the contractual situation of the related head coach.
- Acting before CAS (sitting in person in New York City) for a top-level boxer in relation to his claim that a settlement agreement had been breached by the relevant boxing authority, which would have entitled him to a prestigious fight by a set date.
- Advising in relation to UEFA’s multi-club ownership rules.
- Advising on and representing the defendant on appeal from a commercial trial in the English courts involving the sale of a British Eventing competition horse by an international-standard competition rider. The case involved sale of goods, misrepresentation and mitigation issues. The historical behaviour of the horse and the industry-specific nature of the representations were key considerations.
Corruption, ethics and disciplinary
Adam has been involved in various complex prosecutions and investigations within a sports context. Such cases have often involved assessing large amounts of historic evidence and many potential witnesses.
Selected cases include:
- Advising on further investigations and bringing CAS proceedings against the former president and general secretary of an International Federation, in relation to historic corruption and ethics violations.
- Acting before CAS for a national football federation in relation to an appeal by a club president against his lifetime ban for punching a referee in the referee changing rooms.
- Acting before CAS for a national football federation in relation to an appeal by a club coach against a lifetime ban for widespread match-fixing.
- Acting on appeal before CAS for an international federation in relation to charges of match-fixing.
- Adam was formerly a chair of the disciplinary panels of the London FA.
Sports Injury and Sporting Product Liability
- Adam was junior to Daniel Shapiro KC in relation to a £2million product liability claim involving a fall from a horse by a doctor while riding a jumping circuit wearing an inflatable vest.
- Advising in relation to multiple personal injuries arising out of the partial collapse of a cricket stadium during a match.
- Advising a cycling training company on its defence to a claim made by a child injured during a beginners’ cycling training session.
- Acting in a multi-track claim brought by a greenkeeper against his employer golf club and a golfing member who hit him on the head with an approach shot, allegedly causing neurological symptoms. Drafting the defence and advising on a claim arising out of an allegedly negligent personal training session, where the claimant was injured while performing box jumps.
- Advising on the defence of a claim involving an allegedly negligent box-fit session, where the claimant was injured while performing a toe-tap exercise.
- Advising on the defence of a multiparty claim involving a stilt-walking injury during a circus skills workshop at a school.
- Hardwicke, Droop and Shelford Scholarships, Lincoln’s Inn
- Margaret Branthwaite CPE Prize
- BPTC, University of Law, Birmingham
- GDL, University of Birmingham
- BA Hons (First Class), Worcester College, University of Oxford
- Lincoln’s Inn
- Ordre des Avocats Vaudois (Vaudois Bar Association, invited member)
- Federation Suisse des Avocats (Swiss Bar Association)
- Association Suisse de Droit du Sport (Swiss Sports Law Association)