This is an update on my complaint to the BBC last week about Roan's interview with the new PL chief exec
Original Complaint: CAS-5572998-RC5QVH 8/8/19
BBC Pre-Season Interview with new Premier League Acting CEO: Bias Against Man City in Question by Dan RoanDan Roan’s opening question: "Is Manchester City's financial clout making the league predictable? Manchester City have won back-to-back Premier League titles and became the first English side to win the domestic treble last season
Richard Masters’ answer: "I'm not concerned. First of all we should celebrate just how brilliant City are and we should celebrate how Pep Guardiola has transformed the squad," says Masters."
The fact that this is patently untrue and Man City are not the financially dominant club at the moment is actually not the key issue here. While there's no doubt that they spent a lot of money, City's financial resources are very similar to those of Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea etc. The question of ‘damaging the competition’ has never featured during the previous 30 years of domination by those clubs, why is it only relevant now? Mr Roan’s clear implication is that Man City’s 'financial clout' is qualitatively different from that of other clubs, in short the inference is because its source is an Arab owner.
I see that this news bulletin is no longer available on iPlayer and that on your website the interview has now been re-edited and the question sequence re-ordered. Its headline is about tackling racism but what is widely seen as an openly racist attack by Dan Roan on Man City's owners seems to have gone unnoticed by your editors and his superiors.
Although the video clip
no longer contains Mr Roan's highly prejudicial question nor Richard Masters’ strong rejection of the untruthful allegation that Manchester City's dominance on the field was the result of their 'financial clout', the associated Q & A extracts still retain the original disgraceful inference that underlies Mr Roan’s all too familiar attacks on the club. He is the only reporter ever to be banned by Manchester City
and since then has been even more blatantly biased against the club.
The main problem is not just about him, though he is an important part, it is also about his bosses. That’s because both he and they are very well aware that underlying this prejudiced narrative is a long-term commercial battle between Manchester City and the Premier League’s US owned rival clubs together with their European allies. Essentially it is about their hostility to the City owner’s business model, which ploughs back all profits back into the club unlike profits from their clubs which mostly go out of football completely. For example the Glazer family have taken almost the same amount of money out of Manchester United as Sheikh Mansour has invested in City since 2008, over £1 billion. While City is debt free United were subject to a leveraged buyout with £525m debts loaded on to the club, including £275m high interest “payment in kind” loans. This debt scandal continues to be virtually unreported by the BBC.
BBC Response from Deborah Dawson (extract)“The job of the BBC interviewer is to then put forward questions likely to be in the minds of our audience
Just because Dan questioned whether Man City's financial clout made the League unpredictable does not mean that it can be inferred that this is his own view."
Complaint continued and further explained :
Your attempt to justify this question shows the same bias against Man City. The key issue, which you completely fail to address, is why Mr Roan’s opening question was to ask if City’s financial resources made the Premier League uncompetitive. If the question had been about the club’s recent dominance in respect of their footballing excellence, the question would have been entirely legitimate. Instead Mr Roan asked if the competition was being damaged not as a result of sporting performance of the team on the pitch but as a consequence of the club’s ‘financial clout’.
His clear implication is that Man City’s financial resources are different from their rival clubs. Yet Mr Roan knows full well that the club is not financially dominant by any measure - whether that is turnover, profits, player wages or transfer fees paid – indeed they have none of the 20 most expensive signings. His biography makes it abundantly clear what he believes about Manchester City and why he asks the question he did. Your claim that it was not his own is absurd."Sport has been revolutionised by the huge amount of money that’s come into it. It’s part of the modern business world, but hasn’t caught up governance-wise. When you see Putin using the Winter Olympics and now the FIFA World Cup to project his image onto the world, and the situation in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and China, you see sport as another arm of power. These places are using sport as a way of projecting their authority, not only on their own people, but globally too. So money in sport is becoming important to governments as well as just people.” A Life in Sports Reporting - BBC's Dan Roan
Mr Roan and his bosses have deliberately aligned the BBC as a supporter of what are widely seen as racially prejudiced attacks on Manchester City by its commercial opponents. The plain truth is that owners of rival clubs have seen their profits and hegemony threatened by City's success via a profit investment business model they will never copy. Through the media outlets they control or influence these elite clubs have sought to divert the disappointment of their mass supporter bases at City’s onfield domination with a series of invented pegs to hang their resentment on.
First they reassured their fans that the new investment in City was just a temporary ‘vanity purchase’ which would inevitably fail. When this didn’t happen FFP was redesigned and manipulated to protect elite clubs whilst hobbling City and PSG. These overtly unfair measures were later combined with the borderline racist narratives of ‘Financial Doping’ and ‘Sportswashing’. Both these fictions have been exposed by reputable football journalists such as Martin Samuel and Oliver Holt but a derivative campaign is still being waged by a few discredited individuals many of whom are regularly referenced by Mr Roan on his twitter account as BBC Sports Editor.
All football clubs face questions and criticism, some justified, some not. In City's case, financial and sporting rivalry have created an emotional interest amongst millions of people which a commercially pressured media are targeting – a perfect storm to which is added political bias from those who object to Arab ownership of a PL club. No other owner or club has ever been questioned and vilified to such a degree. Singling out City from the very large number of major UK companies, scientific research institutions, HE bodies and sporting industries that benefit from UAE based investment, including long term sponsorship of the clubs that are responsible for these attacks, is hypocrisy of the highest order. For them to be subjected to this continuing and escalating hostility by the BBC as well is totally unacceptable and needs to stop right now.