If you don’t know the crux of the original story, the Mirror sums it up:
Oil-rich billionaires could offer up to £175m to the world’s biggest clubs just to take part in a summer ‘Dream Football League’.
The tournament – to be held in six cities in the Gulf region every other year, starting in 2015 – would involve 24 elite clubs.
Organisers would hope to attract four English clubs from Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur to take part, a report in The Times today claims.
The DFL would be bankrolled by the Qatari royal family in the hope it would rival or even overtake the Champions League and Club World Cup due to the eye-wateringly high sums involved.
Except there are claims emerging the entire story is a hoax. From the Telegraph:
However, satirical French website Les Cahiers du Football has today claimed that Sun Mar 10 report “Qatar Launches Dream Football League” is the source for today’s report.
Cahiers du Football said Sunday’s story: “Came entirely from our imagination.”
Many of the details were common to both stories. Both The Times and the spoof website claim the tournament will begin in 2015, and be staged every two years. It would be held in the summer at six cities across the Gulf. And both used the below image to illustrate their stories.
The Times reporter who “broke” the story in question, Oliver Kay, denies he’s been duped:
@cahiersdufoot It’s a nice theory. Wrong, but nice.
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) March 13, 2013
The article itself is actually pretty solid satire, complete with promised holograms and ‘mass pilgrimages’ from Europe for fans to be able to watch their teams.
Kay’s reputation as a journalist is now on the line. Sad stuff if this all unravels…