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Matthew Astley

Associate Solicitor

Dispute Resolution

Professional Background:

Matthew joined Harrison Drury in June 2016 and advises on the full range of commercial litigation matters including litigation arising from an employment context. Matthew has also established a strong reputation in sports-related litigation and disciplinary matters, and he is the founding head of the firm’s Sports Sector team.


Matthew has acted in the following matters, amongst others:

  • Wide-ranging commercial litigation matters, including high-value cases involving breach of statutory/fiduciary duties and misappropriation of company funds.
  • Shareholder disputes, including claims pursuant to section 994 of the Companies Act 2006.
  • General contractual disputes, including adjudication.
  • Employment-related litigation, including bringing and defending claims for breach of restrictive covenant and misuse of confidential information, and claims against ex-employees for breach of contract.
  • In 2022, on behalf of a company client, Matthew secured an injunction in the High Court against a former employee who, prior to resigning, had sent himself hundreds of emails (the equivalent of two lever arch folders) containing confidential information belonging to his employer.
  • Professional negligence claims, including claims against professional advisers.
  • Sports arbitration cases, including disputes arising from the transfer of players and in particular:
  • Fleetwood Wanderers Limited (t/a Fleetwood Town Football Club) v AFC Fylde Limited [2018] EWHC 3318 (Comm): defending an appeal by Fleetwood Town against the decision of a Rule K arbitrator pursuant to the Arbitration Act 1996. 
  • Sports regulatory and disciplinary cases, including:
  • Represented a semi-professional cyclist in disciplinary proceedings brought by British Cycling, where it was alleged the cyclist had manipulated data through the use of a bot in order to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Represented a football player before an FA Regulatory Commission regarding a comment made on social media (E3.2 Aggravated Breach and standard minimum sanctions).
  • Represented a player before the Rugby Football League Operational Rules Tribunal (Grade D dangerous contact charge).
  • Advising on sports regulatory complaints.

Matthew is also a member of The FA’s National Serious Case Panel, which adjudicates on all types of serious disciplinary cases, including those involving the use of aggravated language, within grassroots football.

Matthew provides excellent client service which is commercially focussed. He combines clear, thorough and practical advice, with an accessible and down to earth approach. He has experience in a wide range of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation.

Personal Interests:

In his spare time, Matthew enjoys watching and playing sport, particularly rugby league, which he previously played professionally, coming through the academy ranks at Wigan Warriors before later signing for Leigh Centurions. Latterly, Matthew played for Leigh Miners Rangers in the National Conference League.

Nowadays, Matthew remains actively involved in the rugby league community. Since 2018 he has been a Community Game Discipline Panel Member, appointed by the Rugby Football League.


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