Proactive Sports Management Ltd v Rooney and Others: CA 1 Dec 2011

Wayne Rooney set up a company to which he assigned his image rights, in other words his rights to exploit his image by, for example, his indorsement of sports products and by other forms of promotion and sponsorship. His company contracted with the claimant to act as its agent in negotiating contracts for the exploitation of his image. His company breached the contract and, when sued by the claimant, it contended that the contract fell within the doctrine of restraint of trade. The claimant disputed that it did so but accepted the trial judge’s conclusion that, if it did so, its terms were in unreasonable restraint of trade and unenforceable, albeit that it was entitled to a restitutionary remedy.
Held: Arden LJ, recorded the claimant’s submission that Wayne Rooney’s ‘trade’ was as a footballer and that exploitation of his image rights formed no part of it. She held however that, although his business of exploiting his image rights was ancillary to, and indeed dependent on, his primary occupation of playing football, it fell within the doctrine. The other members of the court agreed. Gross LJ added that Wayne Rooney’s activities on-field and, in exploiting his image rights, off-field were both part of a single trade; and that the court should adopt a ‘broad, practical, rule of reason approach’ to determining the applicability of the doctrine.


Arden, Sullivan, Gross LJJ


[2011] EWCA Civ 1444




England and Wales


Appeal fromProactive Sports Management Ltd v Rooney and Others QBD 15-Jul-2010
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Cited by:

CitedTillman v Egon Zehnder Ltd SC 3-Jul-2019
The company appealed from rejection of its contention that its former employee should be restrained from employment by a competitor under a clause in her former employment contract. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 10 April 2022; Ref: scu.449382