Professional Support Team
Dan Saoul – Sports Disputes Barrister
Dan is a barrister with expertise in all aspects of sports law, as well as commercial disputes arising in the sports sector and other industries.
He has experience of acting for athletes, clubs, governing bodies and other entities in the full range of sports related matters, including relating to contractual disputes, disciplinary matters, anti-doping, national team selection and reputation management amongst other things. He is qualified to act as representative and advocate in courts and arbitral tribunals (including the Court of Arbitration for Sport), and can also offer advice on non-contentious legal issues.
He has substantial experience in the field, and is recognised as a leading sports lawyer by the legal directories (Chambers & Partners, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal) who describe him as “incredibly talented”, “worth his weight in gold”, “authoritative”, “very commercial, very thorough and also very creative” and “incredibly user-friendly, innovative and a real details man.”
His legal expertise is complemented by his own background as an international sportsman: he is a former rowing cox, with honours at the Rowing World Cup, Commonwealth Rowing Championships and Henley Royal Regatta, and was subsequently appointed to the Council of British Rowing, the governing body of the sport, as well as being elected as Secretary of Britain’s leading rowing club, Leander. He therefore has first-hand experience as a competitor, coach and administrator of the kinds of issues that arise in sport.
He also sits as a panel member for Sport Resolutions, the UK’s leading sports dispute resolution body, for the Lawn Tennis Association and for the British Equestrian Federation, all of which give him valuable perspective when he is advising and representing his clients.
His expertise has also recently seen him appointed by the Attorney-General to the list of barristers approved for use by the British Government, confirming his ability and the trust placed in him by clients
Other Legal Support
Aside from sports disputes barrister Dan Saoul, our legal team includes the country’s top specialist sports law firm, as ranked by the independent legal directories, who will support the directors and clients of GSF, in particular with contractual negotiations.
We also use a ground-breaking media law firm which is retained by some of the top clubs in the Premier League to advise directors, first team players and across the academies. The firm advises on libel and privacy and all aspects regarding reputation protection, with an increasing focus on social media and education and support for young professionals.
To assist us with immigration and visa-related matters that involve our international clients, we use an expert who is described in the independent legal directories as “one of the most prominent sports immigration practitioners in the country”. He acts for numerous high-profile football and rugby clubs, governing bodies and individual sportspeople including their family members, ranging from visa matters to enter the country initially, through to extensions, indefinite leave and citizenship.
Elliott Buss – Tax and Image Rights Adviser
Elliott has been at the forefront in helping sports agents on the tax efficiency of contracts and setting up image right companies for endorsements and image rights payments from club and country.
He understands the pressures of being a professional sportsperson and aims to provide a friendly, relaxed and ‘plain English’ approach to any advice that is given. As senior tax manager in a South Wales-based accountancy practice, Elliott can assist in any matters you have, whether at the start of your career or at the end.
His careful and efficient approach allows you to concentrate on what you do best. He is able to respond quickly and provide a fast turnaround of work, and agreed timings and fees with you up-front, so that you are in control. He also has the benefit of being able to draw technical support from our other specialist departments within his firm.
Nikki Fletcher – Private Banking
We understand that professional people are busy, and balancing your work and personal life can be difficult, which is why we offer you our personal and preferential Private Banking service. It helps you manage your finances more effectively and efficiently, saving you time.
As professional sports people, I appreciate that your personal time is fairly limited during the playing season, and very precious outside of it. I have worked with numerous sporting professionals in the past, in various codes, and tailor my approach to each player differently to suit their needs and requirements.
As a dedicated Private Banking relationship Manager it is my role to always be ready to help you and, with our preferential products and solutions, you can be confident that you’re making the most of your money with Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank.
Ross Hall – Sports Psychologist
Formerly a Royal Engineer, Ross is now lecturing in sport psychology at the University of South Wales. During his Forces career Ross served both at home and abroad and undertook various tours including the Falklands, Northern Ireland and left service life following a tour of Bosnia in 1995. Upon leaving the Army he went to University and studied sport and exercise science at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He specialised in sport psychology and began lecturing at the University of Wolverhampton in 2000. Ross has worked in various recreational and professional sports (for example professional football, golf and rugby) supporting athletes and staff alike. He is qualified as a BPS Chartered and HCPC registered practitioner psychologist. Ranked amongst his significant achievements, Ross supported the GB Wheelchair Rugby team at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and more recently the GB men’s Handball team at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Julie Hayton – Sports Injury, Rehabilitation and Process Consultant
Julie started work with Leicester City Academy and Senior squads before embarking on a 12 year career with Leicester Tigers. Julie’s rise from Massage Therapist to Senior Rehabilitation Coach to Deputy Department Head culminated in a four year post as Head of
Medical & Rehabilitation Services.
Julie works closely with British Ski and Snowboard, a number of professional football clubs and Giant Bikes as a Sports Injury Rehabilitation Consultant. Past work experiences include Welsh National Rugby Squad, Gladiators, McLaren Formula One, World Super Bikes, celebrity performance tours and endurance challenge events.
Julie holds an Honours Degree in Sports Therapy and Sports Injury Rehabilitation, with a special interest in massage and soft tissue therapy – achieving Active Release Therapy Full Body practitioner status. Another area of specialist expertise is the rehabilitation of the lower limb, having trained under some world renowned sports medicine practitioners.
She was recently awarded a Champion Practitioner Award by the British Association of Sports Injury Rehabilitators & Trainers and she is also currently embarking on a Sports Medicine Degree. Julie is the Clinical Director of Function Jigsaw.
Hywel Griffiths – Sports Physiotherapist
Hywel’s experience in elite level sport and in high level sports injury management over 18 years has enabled him to push the boundaries of clinical practice. These experiences and a personal drive and determination to provide excellence is what drives him on, and his physiotherapy practices aim to provide the support to allow clients to be the best they can be. Hywel’s history in professional sport has seen him undertake many roles for various club and national teams.
For 4 years from 1999 to 2003 he was Physiotherapist for the Senior and Academy Squads at Cardiff Blues, undertaking assessment, diagnostics, treatment & rehabilitation. While in this role he he was also Head Physiotherapist at Bridgend Rugby (2000 to 2002).
Following his spell within the Blues region, he moved to the Llanelli Scarlets in 2003 as Head Regional Physiotherapist, where he developed and led a dynamic department of physiotherapists, until 2006.
Hywel’s jump from club to regional was complete when he became National Physiotherapist for the Welsh Rugby Union and Wales national squad in 2006. His role included assessing, diagnosing, treating & rehabilitating international players to ensure they optimised performance and remained injury free. He also developed a medical database system to be used across the professional game and was involved in creating and monitoring systems and standards in health delivery. He remained in this high profile position for four and a half years, until 2011.
During this long period in professional sport, he was also a lecturer of sports medicine at UWIC from 1999 to 2012, and set up his own company – Therapyworks Franchising in 2003, which is an independent physiotherapy franchise set-up with the aim of providing excellence in physiotherapy.
Hywel returned to rugby as Head Physiotherapist at Neath Rugby in 2012 until 2014, and then made the switch to the round ball game as Consultant Physiotherapist at Cardiff City Football Club, a role in which he now also doubles-up as Head of Medical Services.
Hywel brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, across the sports spectrum, to GSF and supports our football and rugby clients.
Ceri Thomas – Career, Education and Lifestyle Consultant
A former Welsh age group international rugby player with ten years playing experience at the top level domestic rugby in Wales, Ceri’s greatest rugby achievement is as a 20 year old playing for Cardiff RFC versus the 1989 All Blacks, and the Welsh Students versus the 1992 touring Wallabies. .
Ceri played international level up to and including Wales U 21’s, and was a member of the inaugural Wales under 19 Squad which turned NZ in 1987 on which he was top try scorer.
Since completing his playing career Ceri has enjoyed significant professional success in rugby coaching and development of elite players which is supported by a strong related academic background and excellent track record vocational career. He has also coached at international level and been technical advisor to the German national team and coaching staff.
Ceri was the first ever Rugby Development Officer for the Vale of Glamorgan and then as Project Manager for the Dragons Rugby Trust. In this role Ceri was part of the WRU & Dragons Trust Team which developed Welsh rugby’s first Scholarship programme. The National Elite Programme provided the best young Welsh rugby talent with the opportunities to develop as rugby players, but also provided the pastoral care and careers advice to support players through the ups and downs of their rugby careers. A key appointment made by the WRU & Dragons Rugby Trust at this time was the UK’s first ever Athlete Career and Education Advisor.
Since then Ceri has worked at Sport Wales and was seconded to the Welsh Government Major Events Unit to work as part of a team to deliver the London 2012 Olympic Games in Wales. As part of this role Ceri worked with 800+ Olympic athletes and team support as part of their London 2012 Pre Games Training Camp programme.
Ceri currently works with all sports and Elite Athletes across the UK leading the ‘Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) Programme’ working with the high performance managers of 25 sports which include, the RFU, RFL, LTA, Premier League Football & League Football Education.
Jos Andrews – Media Trainer
Jos has a vast range of experience in the media, education, training and public relations and offers media training support to GSF clients.
She has thirteen years experience in the BBC as a television, radio and online producer in the Department of Education and Learning with a varied and diverse work portfolio working as a Series Producer at two Olympic and Paralympic Games, The Commonwealth Games, European and World Championships and 6 Nations rugby.
Career highlights include co-authoring five books with leading sporting figures, writing, developing and producing an eight year multi-platform series for the BBC ‘Raise your Game with Colin Jackson’ and being honoured as a torchbearer at London 2012, nominated for work in inspiring young people.
David Rahman – Life Coach
David Rahman is a Life Coach based in South Wales and also consults in London on Harley Street.
David’s specialty is discovering the limiting factors and beliefs of a client, and then empowering them with world class tools and strategies to take their ‘game’ to the next level.
David’s revolutionary 8 week course programme Press Pause To Play® was featured on the BBC and ITV due to the success it has had in transforming people lives.
He is both passionate about helping people from all walks of life move forward, and live the life they truly deserve.
David, a father of one lives in South Wales loves visiting the cinema, travelling and dining out at great restaurants.
Richard Evans – Concierge Services
Concierge Cardiff is your Personal Concierge, Assistant and Lifestyle Management Team. Players and athletes hard pressed for time can now have the ultimate helping hand with the introduction of Concierge Cardiff. Our team service those who need a PA at home just as much as at work.
Simply by handing over your ‘To Do List’ and making it theirs, they can ‘give you the luxury of time’– the solution to an easier life. Let them relieve the hassle from your life, personal, business and domestic chores and give to you the ultimate resource – TIME. One of the benefits of staying in a first class hotel is its concierge service, but it is now possible to enjoy these advantages from your own home or business. Theirr knowledgeable team can service, arrange and attend to any requirement that you may have.
Steve Capell – Campaigns, Marketing & Promotions Consultant
Steve is a highly experienced creative marketing specialist with extensive expertise in all areas of advertising, design and marketing gleaned from thirty years in the business. Having set up Capell Creative in 1996, Steve has worked for many years for international clients, and government and public sector organisations, creating some of the most high profile communication projects in Wales. His services include:
Marketing – Strategic Development, Market Research, Media Planning, Public Relations, Project management, Campaign audits;
Advertising – Business and consumer, Press and magazine, TV and Radio, Bus and outdoor poster, Corporate video;
Branding and Design – Products, Corporate identity, Signage and display, Exhibitions and events, Literature and packaging, print management;
Direct mail – Personalisation marketing, Database management, Print and fulfilment, Telemarketing, Promotions and incentives;
Interactive and social media – Web development, e-marketing, Social networking, Multi-media presentations
Steve will help to create brands and campaigns for our GSF clients in order to maximise the financials on a short professional sports career.
Justin and Peter have over 45 years design consultancy experience between them.
Established in 1997, Washington Design Consultants (Wdc), is a thriving design business operating in Wales and Southern England with clients throughout both private and public sectors in such diverse markets as property, law, training and employment, banking and finance, leisure and sport, transport and automotive engineering, housing and health education.
Their clients include Wales & West Housing Group, Arriva Trains Wales, Public Health Wales, MotoNovo Finance, Julian Hodge Bank, Apex Chambers, Darwin Gray LLP, EKF Diagnostics and Markes International. They have also worked with numerous start-up companies over the years helping them make an impact and grow within their marketplace.
They are looking forward to working with GSF clients on creating relevant branding and promotional material for their companies and image, as they develop their sporting careers and expand their off-field businesses.
Steve Johnson -Film & Video Producer
Stephen Rhys Johnson is the videographer behind Dragon Fruit Films, a Cardiff based-production company specialising in, promotional and training films, as well as case studies for award ceremonies.
Dragon Fruit also make music videos, showreels for actors and make short films from original scripts. Stephen’s extensive experience includes writing, directing, filming and editing over 200 interview based, original script, and promotional films for (amongst others) NIACE Cymru, Agored, The Open University, WEA Cymru, WCVA, Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival, Department of Innovation and Skills and The Sportsyard (Treorchy).
He has also created case study films for the VQ Awards and, for the past five years, the Inspire! Adult Learning Award. Dragon Fruit are the official filmmakers for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas Cymru.
Stephen’s film work has twice been highly commended in the Network Wales Awards, and he has also worked as a freelance cameraman for Made in Cardiff TV.
Stephen trained as an actor at the Oxford School of Drama, graduated MA (Hons) Creative Writing and Media from Swansea University and completed new writer’s workshops with the National Theatre, London at The Old Vic, and Ty Newydd, North Wales. Stephen has been a finalist in the Ronald Duncan Literary Prize, Oran Mor / Channel 4 Prize, Tobacco Factory Script Space 5, and won the Saturday Shorts 2012 new writing competition. His short plays have been performed at Venue Cymru, Llandudno and the Bristol Folk House. He has also written a series of short monologues for the Actors Workshop and collaborated with award winning playwright Roy Smiles on scripts for a sitcom pilot.
Stephen may support GSF clients with interviews post-match and prior to upcoming games as well as video CVs.
Ed Melia – Press, Media and Communications Manager
Ed is a highly-experienced media and communications consultant who, over the past 22 years, has worked across Arts & Culture, Education, Health and Sport & Leisure in a wide variety of roles. With over 8 years working as an award-winning producer for BBC Radio and over 6 years in Independent Radio – Ed has used this experience of broadcasting and journalism while working in PR over the last 11 years with a range of organisations including the British Army, Government agencies and departments, McDonald’s, the publishing industry, aswell as hundreds of voluntary initiatives and organisations. In that time he has secured coverage across a considerable range of international, national, regional, trade and specialist media outlets.
His extensive experience in strategic leadership and direction on communications co-ordination, strategy, campaigns, writing, editing and broadcasting has enabled him to excel across a wide range of media channels – video, audio, print, online, promotional material, events, editorials and social media.
Ed is also an accomplished photographer, since 2011 he has been Leicestershire County Cricket Club’s principal photographer and has also photographed for The Matt Hampson Foundation, The Harley Staples Cancer Trust, The LOROS Hospice and the ‘Big Bike Ride’ for the Tom Maynard Trust. He is also a Patron of the charity Edgar’s Gift.