Brian O'Neill QC

Brian O’Neill QC

"An exceptional counsel. He knows what works best with the bench, and has excellent case management and preparation."

Legal 500 UK 2022
Year of call: 1987 QC: 2010
For enquiries please call: 020 7353 5324 or email vcard cv linkedin save

Sports Law

Brian has appeared in numerous high profile cases and has represented a number of Premiership footballers accused of serious violence, sexual assault and public order offences: out of respect for their privacy their names have been anonymised and media links removed.


Pagliara, Price & Wright

Appearance: Prosecution

The defendants, two football agents and the former assistant manager of Barnsley FC were convicted of offences under the Bribery Act in December 2019 following a two months’ long trial at Southwark Crown Court.

The case stemmed from an extensive undercover investigation into alleged corruption in football by The Daily Telegraph in 2016, the most high-profile casualty of which was Sam Allardyce, the then England manager, who resigned his position.

The prosecution’s case was that the agents (Pagliara and Wright) arranged payment of cash, and encouraged further payments to be made, in order to induce Wright to do one or more of the following improper acts:

Undercover journalists posed as representatives from a sports management company which was interested in investing in football players. A journalist arranged to meet Pagliara, who introduced her to Price, and later introduced her to Wright. From the first meeting, Pagliara and Price divulged wide-ranging corrupt practices within football and discussed their plans to break FA regulations prohibiting third party ownership. They referred to prominent individuals, at Premiership and Championship level, who took bungs and bribes.

The journalists recorded many hours of meetings and telephone calls, which were played at trial. In addition, the prosecution called evidence from the FA, from those involved at executive and management level and from professional football players who were at Barnsley at the time

Brian advised the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether charges should be brought (offences under the Bribery Act require the Director’s personal consent) and led Julia Faure Walker and Merry Van Woodenberg for the prosecution.  They were instructed by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division.

The case was widely covered in the national press, click the links to read more here.


Defence of a professional footballer accused with three other players of sexually assaulting a young woman in a hotel room. Brian’s client was acquitted of all charges. The solicitor for one of the co-defendants described Brian as “the stand out Silk in the case”.


Defence of a professional footballer accused of wounding a night club doorman with intent to do grievous bodily. Brian’s client was acquitted of all charges.


Defence of a professional footballer accused of a public order offence following his sending off in a Premier League match.


Defence of a professional footballer accused of assault following an incident involving rival fans.

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