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Sarah O'Shea

Director and Consultant SOS Sports Consult

Sarah O'Shea

At the start of 2016, Sarah O’Shea set up a sports consultancy business called SOS Sports Consult.

Sarah’s firm works with national and international sports governing bodies, professional sports people and commercial rights holders. The consultancy advises and assists in matters such as sports governance, sports law, contracts, events and athlete / player representation.

For over 10 years, prior to setting up SOS Sports Consult, Sarah was employed by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). Initially, she was the association’s Legal Counsel and was also Company Secretary. Sarah later was appointed Deputy CEO and also Legal Director while continuing to act as the FAI’s Company Secretary.

General Practice Background

Sarah trained as a solicitor and she worked for many years in a general practice firm in Galway before going on to achieve a meteoric career in sports law and sports management. Sarah qualified in Galway firm RG Emerson & Co. in 2000 and in 2006 applied for the FIFA International Masters programme. She was the first Irish person to ever be accepted on to this prestigious course.

The Masters Programme necessitated living abroad for one year. Sarah moved between Italy, Switzerland and Britain. She and other participants were immersed in the world of international soccer and all related matters such as event organising, licensing, public relations and media. Sarah was offered a job by John Delaney in the FAI on completing the Masters programme.

Sporting Involvements

In the FAI, Sarah got involved in contractual matters, sponsorship, discipline and disputes, rules and regulations, litigation and media. Over the following years, she was centrally involved in her legal role in the development of the Aviva Stadium and in the FAI’s successful bids to have the Europa League Final 2011 and Euro 2020 come to Dublin. 

Sarah also took on several other involvements in other sporting organisations. She is a member of UEFA’s Hat Trick committee, a panel member of CAS, a board member of Just Sport Ireland and has served on the Board and as Chairperson of the Federation of Irish Sport.

Sarah was also invited to participate in UEFA's Women in Leadership programme and has been invited back as a Mentor by UEFA for other women working in football around Europe. She continues to mentor and provide coaching as part of her new business.

Advice

Sarah believes solicitors are ideally suited to management roles in the business of sport. “I sought out a non-practice career”, says Sarah, “but the broad legal practice training that I received provided a solid foundation for all work that I’ve done since.”

Other Stories

For other career success stories, see Career Spotlight.