Football legal experts

We are Lombardi Associates

The Football Legal Specialists

Football truly is a global sport that now demands global thinking. Lombardi Associates brings that thinking, allied to a vast portfolio of worldwide contacts at every level of the game, to work for its clients.

We can work in English, Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese with a fluency that ensures we offer the highest level of personal service to all our clients.

Linked to this is an acknowledged reputation for resolving disputes and obtaining the right results for the individuals and organisations we work with. It comes as no surprise to learn that many of our clients come back to us on football and sport related matters time and time again.

We work with professional clubs and professional footballers, including many international players, as well as other sports professionals throughout the world, all of whom trust us to get it right for them.

As well as advising players, intermediaries, clubs and associations, Lombardi Associates act as external consultants to various law firms in the UK and abroad.


We'd love to hear from you

Lombardi Associates operates in English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French. If you have a football or sports related dispute or issue, we can help you.  

Our Team


Paolo Lombardi

Managing Director

The founder of Lombardi Associates, Paolo Lombardi obtained his degree in Law (Laurea in Giurisprudenza) from Padova University (Italy). He completed the FIFA International Masters in Management, Law, and Humanities of Sport, and holds a Master’s Degree Honoris Causa in International Law from the Superior Institute de Derecho y Economia – ISDE (Spain).

Paolo has been active in the football market since 2002 when he joined FIFA in the Players’ Status Department. He acquired in-depth experience of player transfers and disputes while deputy head of this department, and he also oversaw activities relating to players’ agents. After five years, Paolo became head of the FIFA Disciplinary and Governance department and was responsible for disciplinary, doping, football governance and ethics-related matters throughout the football world.

During his time with the world football’s governing body, he was actively involved in drafting FIFA Statutes, Laws of the Game, FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, FIFA Players’ Agents Regulations, FIFA Disciplinary Code, FIFA Code of Ethics and the FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations.

After almost a decade at FIFA, he founded Lombardi Associates. Using his encyclopaedic understanding of the sport and its disputes and disciplinary-related issues he has built a strong reputation as a leader in the field. He has acted for a range of clients including players, intermediaries, coaches, associations, leagues and a number of top-flight clubs from Italy, England, Scotland, Spain, Brazil, Norway, Portugal Eastern Europe and the Middle-East. Clubs he has represented include Italian clubs such as AS Roma, ACF Fiorentina, US Sassuolo Calcio, Genoa CFC, Hellas Verona FC, Torino FC, AC Cesena, AS Livorno Calcio and US Citta di Palermo, as well as FC Barcelona, Porstmouth FC, Norwich FC, Real Racing Club de Santander, Flamengo, SK Brann, Baniyas SC, SC Olhanense, SC Beira-Mar. Sportspersons include Davide Zappacosta, Andrea Belotti, Benedikt Höwedes, Siniša Mihajlović and Adolfo Sormani. Among others, Paolo has advised the football associations of Italy, China and Albania.

Paolo’s activity as a lecturer includes the following programmes: the FIFA Master at the De Montfort University in Leicester and at the Bocconi University in Milan, the ISDE master in International Sports Law in Madrid, the LLM in International Business Law at the University of Zurich, the Sports Law Diploma at the Edinburgh University, the LLM in International Sports Law Practice at the St. John University in New York and the Advanced Course in Comparative and International Law of Sports at the John Cabot University in Rome.

Paolo has been nominated by peers in the industry for inclusion in “Who’s Who Legal”.


English, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Luca Pastore

of Counsel

Luca obtained his degree in law (Laurea in Giurisprudenza) from Padova University (Italy) during which he participated in the ERASMUS scheme and spent a semester at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid (Spain). After graduation he completed a Masters in International Commerce from Padova University.

Following this, he spent three years working in an Italian Law firm based in Venice, dealing with commercial law and litigation while completing his Italian state Bar exams. After this, he moved to London where he first worked at the Italian desk of a commercial Law firm based in the City, and then at Couchmans LLP, a leading boutique sports Law firm specialised in the sports, media and sponsorship sectors. Luca began working as a consultant to Lombardi Associates in 2015.

Luca’s practice focuses on dispute resolution before the bodies of FIFA as well as arbitration before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He also advises on a broad range of sports legal issues, such as negotiation and drafting of contracts related to international transfer of players, economic rights and image rights, sponsorship and other commercial contracts.

In addition, in January 2020 Luca was appointed as Independent Disciplinary Panel Member at Scottish Athletics.

Luca also published several legal articles on different magazines specialised in sports law.


English, Italian, Spanish

Ian Laing WS


Ian is a solicitor, qualified in Scotland, and in 2022 received his commission as a Writer to His Majesty’s Signet. He obtained his law degree from Glasgow Caledonian University, where he held the position of Student Director of the university’s Law Clinic.  He completed his Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Strathclyde before commencing his traineeship.

Ian was the first Trainee Solicitor in the 500 plus years history of the Society of Writers to His Majesty’s Signet (The WS Society). During his two-year traineeship he undertook a secondment to an award winning, boutique commercial litigation firm, prior to a secondment with Lombardi Associates, joining the firm permanently in September 2019.

Ian works on a variety of matters for clients across the globe, ranging from transfer contracts, transfer negotiations and employment contracts to disciplinary matters before CAS, FIFA, UEFA, UK Anti-Doping and other regulatory and disciplinary bodies.  In addition to this, recent work has involved advising both clubs and investors on investment into football clubs and advising start ups looking to enter the football space. He also regularly contributes articles to industry publications and comments for media outlets on sports law related matters.

In 2023 Ian was appointed to the WS Society’s Council and his involvement with the WS Society extends to Lombardi Associates partnering with the WS Society on an annual Sports Law conference, forming part of the WS Society’s market leading legal education programme.  In 2023 Ian chaired the conference.

He lectures on, and contributes to, sports law modules at a number of universities and retains strong links with his alma mater, returning to lecture on the Sports Law module annually since 2016 and providing support to students through sponsoring places at the WS Society Sports Law Conference.  Additionally, since 2022, Ian has been a mentor on the Law in Sport Mentoring Scheme, having benefitted from being part of the first cohort of mentees when the scheme launched in 2018.



How we can help

Our Services

For Clubs

Dispute resolution, transfer negotiation, transfer contracts

For Players

Legal representation, dispute resolution, disciplinary and doping

For Coaches

Dispute resolution, representation, contract enforcement

Football player

For Intermediaries

Representation agreements, employment contracts, contract enforcement

For Associations & Leagues

Expert advice on FIFA Regulations and UEFA Regulations

For Investors

Regulatory issues for investors, access to international networks

Latest from the blog...

Lombardi for Football Clubs. Players & Coaches. Intermediaries. Associations & Leagues. Investors.


We know a lot about Football.

The team is led by CEO Paolo Lombardi, who after more than eight years working at the home of football, FIFA, founded Lombardi Associates in 2010.

Paolo Lombardi

Our clients

A selection of some of our respected clients...