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Daniel Parnell
CEO and Managing Director

Daniel Parnell
CEO and Managing Director

Dan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Sporting Directors and is a Associate Professor in Sport Business at the Centre of Sport Business within the University of Liverpool Management School. Dan has extensive experience developing, leading and delivering executive education, alongside providing mentorship and research supervision for senior leaders in football. He has consulted on facilitating positive organisational change, performance management and the recruitment of senior staff in elite football. He is also a founder member of The Football Collective, a global platform for football researchers.

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Haydn Roberts
Commercial Director

Haydn Roberts
Commercial Director

Haydn is responsible for the commercial and operational growth of the ASD.

Haydn is Head of the award winning Shoosmiths Elite Advisory division and originates from a commercial background at Heineken International& Budweiser. He worked on many sponsorship deals including Manchester City, Everton, Glastonbury, Virgin Music Festivals, Chelsea and Manchester United. In 2008 he left the FMCG industry and moved into football, founding the Player Care and Support department at Manchester City, New York City and Melbourne City FC. His vision, dedication and ability to predict player’s needs saw this department flourish, and become considered best in class within the European football industry.

Haydn possesses great relationship management, networking, communication and commercial skills. He is keen to speak to potential commercial partners whose brands reflect the values of the ASD and whose products can assist the Sporting Director in fulfilling his or her vision.

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Alistair Milner
Managing Director

Alistair Milner
Managing Director

Alistair is a Partner with the international search firm SRI. He has spent 10 years working with Ownership Groups, Professional Football Clubs, National Associations and Olympic sports on a range of technical and leadership appointments.

Management Committee

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Stuart Swift
Management Committee

Stuart Swift
Management Committee

Stuart currently works for UK Coaching as Learning and Assessment Manager alongside multiple sports to support coach development, having previously worked at The Football Association (FA) to develop coach education courses, resources and CPD programmes from level 1 – 5.

In addition, Stuart also works for FIFA as High Performance Manager supporting the very first global talent development programme. Furthermore, Stuart is a youth academy coach at Rotherham United and also holds a MSc in Advanced Sport Coaching Practise from Sheffield Hallam University.

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Professor Barry Drust
Management Committee

Professor Barry Drust
Management Committee

Barry is an Industrial Professorial Fellow at The University of Birmingham.  He is an experienced academic specialising in the area of sports performance. 

Barry has a particular interest in the development, preparation and performance of elite footballers. Published over 150 peer reviewed research articles and is invited regularly to speak at national and international conferences. Barry is also interested in the development of individuals working with scientists and industry practitioners to develop skills associated with problem solving and critical thinking. 

He has successfully supervised around 40 doctorates using both traditional science-based models and more contemporary applied practice based strategies. Over a period of 20 years, Barry has also been involved in providing scientific support and expert consultancy services to elite football organisations.  These include roles within teams within the English Premier League, Scottish Premiership and national football associations.

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Professor Ian McHale
Management Committee

Professor Ian McHale
Management Committee

Ian is Professor of Sports Analytics at the University of Liverpool Management School. Ian’s research focuses on using statistical models for rating players, forecasting results, and understanding more about various aspects of sport.

He has consulted with, amongst others, football clubs, the Premier League, the Press Association, and several bookmakers. In 2005, Ian created the EA SPORTS Player Performance Indicator, the official player ratings system of the Barclays Premier League. Ian was founding Chair of the Royal Statistical Society’s Statistics in Sport Section.

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Laura McCallum
Management Committee

Laura McCallum
Management Committee

Laura is a qualified Scottish solicitor and has a keen interest in sports-related legal matters and graduated in July 2018 with a Master degree in International Sports Law, from Spanish educational institution, Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economia (ISDE). 

She provides advice to sport clients across a variety of matters including governance, regulatory and contractual issues. She has a specialist interest in football-related matters and regularly advises clients on the transfer of players as well as player contracts.

Laura regularly writes on sports law issues and has been published in The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, European Leagues newsletter, LawinSport, Sports Law, Administration and Practice as well as Sports Law & Taxation Reports and FC Business Magazine. On top of any writing for publications, Laura is also a keen blogger and has her own personal sports law blog.

Laura holds a number of appointments including being a member of UEFA’s Legal Aid & Pro Bono Panel for disciplinary charges; Company Secretary for Scottish Athletics; and a member of England Hockey’s Disrepute Complaints Panel. Laura is Head of Football Administration & Legal Affairs for Dundee United FC in the Scottish Championship.

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Joel Roberts
Management Committee

Joel Roberts
Management Committee

Joel is a UEFA A licensed coach, FA qualified Academy Manager and experienced Educator, with a Masters in Sport Directorship, he possesses a range of executive skills gained through various senior roles in football and education.

He is a Director of a football and educational consultancy specialising in football related academic programmes and delivery, leadership initiatives and strategic development to positively impact upon a variety of organisations and institutions.

Joel is also an experienced football practitioner as a FA Premier League and National Team Senior Scout, with elite coaching experiences as a Premier League Academy Head Coach and with England Women U23’s.

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Elena Okaemova
Management Committee

Elena Okaemova
Management Committee

Elena is a football media expert with 11 years of experience in journalism. She has worked as a reporter, sport news presenter and Head of the Sport department at Radio Zenit, the official radio station of Zenit FC.

She has also worked as the Chief Editor of SportCloud, a global online platform devoted to promoting an active lifestyle among children and their parents. Throughout her career, Elena has won prestigious awards, participated in global radio conferences, and covered World cups, Olympic Games, Euros and Champions League finals.

Currently, Elena is pursuing her Football Industries MBA at the University of Liverpool having received the Liverpool MBA Excellence Scholarship. For her final project, she is consulting for The Anfield Wrap media company.

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Joe Rigg
Management Committee

Joe Rigg
Management Committee

Joe’s role involves marketing, digital and branding of the ASD.

As an Experienced Creative Graphic Designer Joe has a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of Graphics & Marketing. He has experience working with Football Clubs and other sporting institutes, such as working on site for UFC 204 in Manchester. Now founder of new start up business ‘Swoop Creative’, Joe offers a different approach to the style and looks in which ASD can be portrayed.

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Emma Clark
Management Committee

Emma Clark
Management Committee

Emma is highly motivated and has a wide array of experience within the commercial/ sponsorship aspects of sport, handling global athlete charity announcements with charities such as Common Goal. Emma has completed an MBA in Football Industries at the University of Liverpool, having received the What if Scholarship from Women in Football. After receiving the scholarship Emma was invited to assist Women in Football with their European launch of the What If campaign at Fifa Pro Headquarters early in 2020. A project Emma undertook was how sponsorship within football clubs has been affected since the pandemic. Prior to the MBA, Emma graduated with a first-class degree in Sports Coaching and Development from Staffordshire University. Emma’s passion for sport is the driving force in everything she sets out to achieve.

Technical Committee

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Mike Rigg
Technical Committee

Mike Rigg
Technical Committee

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Ross Wilson
Technical Committee

Ross Wilson
Technical Committee

Ross currently sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.

He has previously held Sporting Director roles at Watford, Huddersfield Town and Southampton.

Ross is currently Sporting Director and Board Member at Scottish Giants Glasgow Rangers FC.

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Nick Hammond
Technical Committee

Nick Hammond
Technical Committee

Nick sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.

Nick is an experienced Sporting Director and football consultant who is currently working with Celtic FC in the Scottish Premiership at Head of Football Operations.

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Rebecca Caplehorn
Technical Committee

Rebecca Caplehorn
Technical Committee

Rebecca sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.

Having spent numerous years working in Tennis, and football at Queens Park Rangers, Rebecca now operates as Head of Football Operations at Tottenham Hotspur and has been a key member of the executive team since 2015.

Furthermore, Rebecca is also a chartered accountant and holds a joint honours degree from Loughborough University.

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Iffy Onoura
Technical Committee

Iffy Onoura
Technical Committee

Iffy currently sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members. Having a career spanning 15 years as a player, making over 450 appearances, notably for Huddersfield Town and Gillingham.

Iffy transitioned to coaching and coach education, and he currently works as a coach educator and equalities executive for the PFA, alongside working as a match delegate for the Premier League. As a UEFA Pro Licence holder, Iffy has previously supported the England youth teams as an assistant coach and managed the Ethiopia National Team.

Iffy is also a board trustee at Kick It Out, supporting the governance of the organisation.

We offer expert legal support to all of our members. Our experts have developed a deep understanding of your sector so you can feel safe in the knowledge of having specialists in your corner who welcome your contact and can provide a complimentary legal point of view at your convenience.

Our legal team is headed by Haydn Roberts who also heads the Elite Advisory Division at Shoosmiths LLP.

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Charlie Rae
Employment

Charlie Rae
Employment

Charlie Rae is a partner in the employment team, based in the Birmingham office. He is experienced in advising clients on the full range of employment law issues, both contentious and non contentious. In particular, he regularly advises in relation to senior executive terminations, business reorganisations, outsourcing and insourcing situations and has particular experience of advising clients about TUPE, including problem areas and innovative approaches.

He is also an experienced litigator, with particular expertise in relation to whistleblowing, working time regulations and collective consultation claims as well as actions to enforce, or defend the enforcement of, restrictive covenants. Charlie regularly appears on behalf of clients as an advocate in the employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal.

Charlie has worked with clients in a variety of sectors during his career and has particular experience of advising clients based in the retail, banking, manufacturing and housing sectors.

Having qualified as a solicitor in 2001 with Pinsent Masons (then Pinsent Curtis), he was promoted to Senior Associate in 2008. He joined Shoosmiths as a Partner in January 2012.

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Peter Hackleton
Taxation

Peter Hackleton
Taxation

Pete is head of  Saffery Champness Sports & Entertainment Group and advises a range of corporate and individual clients, primarily in the sports and entertainment sector.

His major clients include both international and national governing bodies of sport, clubs, major venues, rights holders, other sports businesses and individuals. Pete now advises over 70 Premier League footballers on all aspects of their tax affairs.

He also provides tax advice to companies and individuals across the wider entertainment sector, including film, television, music and e-sports.

In addition, Pete also has a strong client base in the entrepreneurial and owner-managed business space, focusing on providing commercially driven tax-efficient solutions in this sector.

Pete spent over 10 years at Deloitte, initially as a general corporate tax specialist in Manchester before moving to London in 2005 to lead the tax side of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, moving to Saffery Champness in 2011. In 2012 Pete was listed in the Accountancy Age Top 35 under 35, and in 2015 was voted into Taxation Magazine’s Top 40 under 40.

Pete regularly speaks at industry conferences about the key taxation issues in sport, as well as appearing in all forms of media. He is well known as a trusted adviser to major stakeholders across the sports industry.

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Richard Millington
Commercial

Richard Millington
Commercial

Richard is an experienced lawyer who provides counsel on strategic projects across the technology, media and sports sectors. He is listed in The Lawyer Hot 100 2019 for his ground breaking work setting up the practice.

As well advising on some of the sporting world’s biggest deals his experience includes negotiating cross border joint ventures, developing and executing litigation strategies in multiple jurisdictions and working on key outsourcing, telecoms projects, IP exploitation (including content/broadcast rights), sponsorship, distribution and agency arrangements.

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Karen Stewart
Conveyancing

Karen Stewart
Conveyancing

Karen is  a property expert with over 20 years of experience.  Karen has a wide range of experience dealing with matters from first time buyer properties through the full range of values of property to those downsizing on retirement.
Karen deals with the Wealth Protection matters involving trusts and deputy issues and transfers to support the Family team. Karen focuses on delivering fantastic service to our clients with many returning clients and has been the Client Partner for the conveyancing for Which? consumer association. Karen has been a Partner since 2004.

In her spare time Karen likes travelling, running and going to the gym.

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Rachel Harvey
Immigration

Rachel Harvey
Immigration

Rachel has 13 years’ experience in both personal and corporate immigration law.

During this time, Rachel has advised global organisations and SMEs on all aspects of corporate immigration and work force planning. She has assisted organisations in obtaining and maintaining sponsor licences to enable them to recruit employees from outside of the EEA.

More recently, Rachel’s focus has been on assisting organisations who employ large numbers of EEA nationals with packages to support their employees through the Brexit process – retaining valuable talent. She also advises on the relocation of non-EEA family members of UK nationals who may be returning to the UK after years working abroad.

Rachel regularly conducts immigration audits for businesses and advises on employer’s liability in relation to right-to-work checks and UKVI compliance.  She has significant experience in objecting to civil penalties received for employing illegal workers.

Rachel also represents high net worth individuals from outside of the EEA who wish to invest money in or start businesses in the UK under the tier 1 entrepreneur and investor routes.

Rachel also advises individuals on applications for spouse visas, indefinite leave to remain applications, EEA applications, applications for British citizenship and British passports.

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Stephen Patch
Wealth Protection

Stephen Patch
Wealth Protection

Stephen is an experienced wealth protection lawyer specialising in estate planning for high net worth individuals as well as farmers and has been doing so since 2004.
He is able to navigate clients through complex matters in simple English with his friendly and approachable manner putting clients at ease. Stephen is able to offer both practical and commercial advice to his clients often becoming the ‘trusted adviser’ and first point of contact.
Expertise includes:
  • Complex wills incorporating trusts
  • Trusts
  • Tax and succession planning for individuals, business owners and farmers.
  • Powers of Attorney for both individuals and business owners
  • Estate administration

The Legal 500 notes that Stephen is known for providing advice within private client practice as a lawyer who is ‘very approachable and amenable’.

Stephen joined Shoosmiths in March 2020 having been the former head of the private client team at Woodfines as well as previously heading up the tax, trusts & estates Cambridge team at international law firm, Taylor Vinters.

Stephen is a full member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), an international quality mark for inheritance and succession planning.
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Phil Barnes
Medical Negligence & Personal Injury

Phil Barnes
Medical Negligence & Personal Injury

Phil is the National Head of the 50 strong Shoosmiths Medical Negligence team.

He has specialised in representing claimants in clinical negligence claims for 19 years.

As an experienced litigator he has dealt with a wide range of complex and high value claims throughout his career, including neurological injury, child birth trauma, amputations, group actions involving intraocular lens implants, surgical errors, misdiagnosis and fatal claims. He has a specialist interest in infection and sepsis cases.

Phil regularly appears as an advocate before Coroners and has been involved in a number of high profile inquests.

He is band 1 in his field in Chambers and Partners in their UK directory and is profiled in Legal 500.

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