Apparently, Man City not only object to being investigated at all,; they object to being investigated by a barrister with more than four decades’ expertise and experience in sports law, offshore fraud and asset tracing. Murray Rosen KC (King’s Counsel), in addition to being first Chair of the new Premier League Judicial Panel also happens to be an Arsenal fan. Get the fainting couch & smelling salts.
In addition to lodging a legal challenge and those 115 charges for alleged rule breaches, Manchester City dispute Rosen’s involvement. They might have preferred a barrister who is a Man City fan, but an exhaustive search revealed that none of them is old enough yet to have finished their A levels, much less the year-long Bar Professional Training Course.
On a more-serious level, City do deserve an impartial judge—but that might be hard to come by. It might be even harder to find someone with Rosen’s vast and deep experience who’s also impartial. However, their concern over his allegiance to Arsenal may be little more than a fig leaf to cover their concern over his experience; he’s been described as “tactically flawless” and “tenacious”, and these qualities and that expertise may disturb Guardiola and his grandees.
At a risk of sweeping their concerns, Rosen’s CV describes a scrupulous, determined, and successful barrister who would be unlikely to throw that all away for a chance at ginning up evidence against Man City. Were he to cut corners, falsify evidence or do anything other than conduct a serious, objective investigation based on legitimate evidence, he’d risk throwing his impressive career away, ruin his reputation, and face criminal charges of his own. While that’s not an iron-clad guarantee, it’s logic solid enough to build on.
There’s protest, and there’s projection, and I start to suspect the latter. Corrupt people assume that others are also corrupt. For City to squeal like a stuck pig over Rosen’s affinity for the club that happens to play in the city in which he was born and has most of his life suggests a lot more about them than it does about Rosen. Would they have been happier had Rosen admitted to supporting Chelsea or Tottenham? Maybe Palace or Brentford. One starts to wonder if they’d protest a barrister who supports Wimbledon FC.
A defendant charged with crimes who is confident of his innocence—or at least confident that he’ll at least be acquitted—doesn’t worry all that much about potential biases. To try to impugn Rosen’s integrity reveals their own absence of confidence, which might not be the same as presence of criminality. On that note, it’s curious that they haven’t said nearly as much about their innocence as they have about this barrister or the arcane details of the process and the panel. That’s not an admission of guilt, but it does start to smack just a touch of desperation.
None of this will be resolved any time soon, but a points deduction that sees us crowned Prem champions retroactively would be acceptable…