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8 Apr 2005

Hefin Archer-Williams, Jamie Baulch and David EvansCardiff-based Dolmans solicitors will provide free legal advice to up and coming Welsh athletes as part of a ground-breaking partnership with the Sports Council for Wales’s lottery funded Elite Cymru programme.

The deal will provide all 180 athletes on the programme with access to legal services, encompassing areas like commercial and sponsorship agreements, employment issues and property matters. The firm has agreed a set amount of hours that will be devoted to these athletes, in the event that they require legal advice in any one of the key areas.

Hefin Archer Williams, a specialist sports lawyer with Dolmans, said;

"As a practice we are delighted to be able to support young Welsh athletes in this way and we have assembled a multi-disciplinary team to ensure access to the widest range of expertise possible. Several of the team have competed at the highest levels in various sports and they welcome the opportunity to give something back."

David Evans, manager of the Elite Cymru scheme, is pleased to have Dolmans on board;

"Élite Cymru supports Wales’ most promising sportsmen and women. Due to their success on the international stage, they are frequently targeted by a variety of commercial deals and contracts. Being able to provide professional legal support to athletes and their parents is a huge bonus.

"We have been impressed with the attitude of the firm and the way in which they conduct their business and are confident that our athletes will be given the highest level of support as they pursue their careers."

World Indoor 400m Champion Jamie Baulch believes that this is a very significant step forward in the support provided to elite competitors in Wales:

"When I was starting out, I was really fazed by the commercial side of things – it’s difficult to know what to do when offers are coming in to get involved with different sponsorships and promotions. The chance to talk things over with a professional adviser is really helpful for athletes who need to keep their mind focused on training and competing.

"It’s reassuring to think that legal support is on hand and is yet another service offered by Sports Council Wales’ Élite Cymru scheme. The Elite Cymru programme is highly respected in the UK and is a real production line of success."

The partnership with Dolmans represents the latest in a series of links established by Elite Cymru, which now offers assistance to its athletes in areas such as funding, medical support, sports science and sports psychology, as well as access to coaching and training facilities.