The ITF has announced a new joint initiative with leading UK specialist sports law firm Couchmans LLP to offer independent legal advice to promising international junior players who are considering signing commercial or representation agreements. The programme will be launched on Thursday 27 June at the ITF Junior Player Educational Forum in Roehampton, London, which will be attended by players taking part in the 2013 Junior Wimbledon Championships.
The new initiative operates as part of the ITF’s Junior Tennis School, which helps to inform young players about various aspects of their tennis careers, both on and off court. The Junior Tennis School currently consists of an e-learning website, www.itfjuniortennisschool.com, which includes 17 educational modules and a series of ITF/Regional Association educational forums held throughout the year. The e-learning website already has over 10,000 registered members from almost 200 countries, while around 900 players attended an educational forum in 2012.
Couchmans LLP has worked with the ITF for many years and with the ITF Juniors department since the inception of the ITF Junior Tennis School, both in the development of the online modules and presenting at the Roehampton Junior Player Forum. The new initiative will develop this relationship further through raising awareness among junior players and their families of the implications of signing commercial and representation agreements.
The initiative will be launched on a trial basis between July and December 2013. It will be open to the 10 highest ranked players in each age group from 13-18 in the ITF Junior World Rankings, and those players who are nominated to represent their country at the 2013 World Junior Tennis Finals and Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals.
Each player will be able to request a free independent one-hour review of a proposed commercial or representation contract by a specialist sports lawyer at Couchmans. Players will receive an overview of the proposed contract, explaining its key terms and the consequences of signing it. There will also be an opportunity for players to obtain more in-depth follow-up advice.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “Junior players can be presented with commercial and representative opportunities at a young age, and do not always have access to the appropriate commercial and legal advice. Through its junior education programmes, the ITF has focused on easing the transition into the professional game, and this partnership with Couchmans allows us to extend our support by facilitating free and impartial specialist legal advice in this key area.”
Daniel Lowen, a partner at Couchmans LLP, said: “The commercial and representation opportunities presented to junior players can have a considerable impact on their careers, so it is vital that young players and their families understand the contractual arrangements they are entering into. We are delighted to be able to work with the ITF, a long-standing client of Couchmans, in launching this exciting initiative and providing an important service to the top juniors around the world.”