Maurice Watkins is a prominent and highly respected figure in professional sport, both domestically and internationally.
Not for scoring goals or lifting trophies, but for the lasting positive impact he has had on how the business of sport operates legally and financially.
Maurice holds a range of notable directorships and memberships. He is Chairman of British Swimming, Barnsley FC and the Rugby League European Federation; Director of Lancashire County Cricket Club, and a trustee of the Professional Footballers’ Pension Scheme.
Maurice Watkins CBE, an honorary doctorate recipient this summer, recieving a Doctor of Laws for his outstanding services to sport.
Most famously, perhaps, he was a Director of Manchester United for 28 years until 2012, helping to guide the club during three decades of remarkable growth and success on and off the pitch.
His interest in the legal side of professional sports took hold when he joined James Chapman & Co. Solicitors Manchester as a partner in 1968. His passion and focus developed over 38 years with the firm, during which he became senior partner, and helped build up arguably the largest sports-dedicated legal team in the UK.
This interest and dedication certainly hasn’t waned since. Far from it – the trend has continued with his current law firm, Brabners, where he is joint Senior Partner and Head of Sport, with an international reputation as a business ambassador for sport, the law and sports’ regulation.
His track record includes representing some of football’s biggest names, including Eric Cantona, Alex Ferguson, Peter Schmeichel, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo and Roy Keane of Manchester United fame, and Sir Dave Richards – recent Chairman of the Premier League.
Maurice was the first employers’ representative on the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, which deals with transfer and contract disputes across the world. He advised Manchester United FC on its flotation on the London Stock Exchange, and has overseen many of the commercial deals that have made the club one of the world’s richest and most globally respected.
His charitable work is extensive, too, and he was awarded a CBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to charity.