Meet the man who holds the hopes of Wigan Athletic in his hands...
So who is the man who will approach the bar – or the independent hearing – carrying the hopes of every single Latics fan on his shoulders?
Well, David Phillips QC, of Wilberforce Chambers, is a vastly experienced lawyer, who was called to the bar in 1976, the year after graduating from Balliol College, Oxford.
In 1997, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel, giving him a wealth of experience at the very highest level.
According to the Wilberforce Chambers website, Mr Phillips ‘advises and litigates in a broad range of commercial matters including professional liability, regulatory, sports related matters and EU transport regulation, as well as mainstream commercial litigation’.
Interestingly, he is a legal member of the FA specialist panel, and of the FA Premier League panel, as well as being a Sport Resolutions appointed arbitrator, and a former tribunal chairman of the National Anti-Doping Panel.
Mr Phillips is recognised in the 2019 edition of The Legal 500 as ‘an excellent all-round sports practitioner. Very amiable and a very effective, experienced advocate’.
On a personal level, he ‘wins plaudits for being a highly effective, no-fuss, easy to work with practitioner. He is recognised in Who’s Who Legal 2017 for his expertise in Sports’ Law and is rated as a Leader in his Fields in both The Legal 500 and Chambers Directories’.
The latter described Mr Phillips as being ‘disarmingly talented’ and has commented that ‘his advocacy contains razor-sharp insight camouflaged by gossamer-soft presentation’. In the 2017 edition of The Legal 500, he is described as ‘top rated’.
Mr Phillips has also ‘had extensive involvement with sport-related matters as an advisor, a litigator and an arbitrator for years.
He ‘has extensive experience both as an advocate and chairing arbitrations and similar tribunals: he is joint Legal Chairman of the Greyhound Board of GB, a member of the FA judicial panel and the FA Premier League Panel, and is a Sport Resolutions arbitrator’.
Of even greater relevance to the Latics case, Mr Phillips ‘has been involved in high profile sporting issues for years’.
In 2004 he was instructed in the Tigana litigation on behalf of Fulham FC, which ended up at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
In 2007, he acted for Leeds United in their own 15-point controversy, representing the club at every stage of the matter – from a members’ meeting of the Football League through to the final determination by the arbitration panel.
Most recently, he chaired a FA Regulatory Commission investigating regulatory breaches, and an FA Appeal Board involving a challenge to a regulatory sanction.
Mr Phillips also chaired the Regulatory Commission in the infamous disciplinary hearing against Wayne Shaw (the ‘Roly-Poly Goalie’, who ate a pie to advertise a betting firm during a game) in February 2017.
Let’s hope the pies are an omen...