THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Hoax on Dortmund’s interest in Sunil Chhetri create a stir in Germany

Sunil Chhetri

It was the big news in India in the last 48 hours when various Indian media published a hoax on Borussia Dortmund’s alleged interest in India captain Sunil Chhetri.

Borussia Dortmund had never an intention to sign the 28-year-old Indian international as clarified earlier [+ click here], but Indian media failed to understand the sarcastic and ironic remarks in the original German language article published by “RevierSport”.

But there is also one certain fact which left and still leaves me astonished. There are statements that most of the Indian media got the news from an article on ESPN FC written by another German writer. But the ESPN FC report referred to the original article correctly, while saying that “this led local German football weekly RevierSport to SUGGEST that Dortmund should now set their sights on Sporting Lisbon and India international Sunil Chhetri.”

We all know the result of the hoax news which made the headlines in India. Especially social media did its part to take Sunil to Germany for at least a few hours. It didn’t matter that my good old friend and colleague Arunava Chaudhuri and myself did our best to clarify the news and to handle the increasing number of enquiries on- and offline.

Meanwhile, the hoax coverage and the reactions in India on the news has created a stir in Germany in the last couple of hours. Various German newspapers and agencies have started to publish their views on the hoax in India and most of them can’t believe how a polemic commentary in a German magazine turned into an almost confirmed transfer in Indian media.

German daily “Ruhr Nachrichten” for example wrote: “Fortunately there are glosses, which are clearly marked as humoristic columns and which happen to be very clear. You would think that at least. But sometimes an ironic ‘report’ in a humoristic column may cause a turmoil in half of the world.”

“A colleague wrote in his daily training camp diary a few days ago, that the BVB should get active in India for marketing reasons. The simple calculation: Sign India striker Sunil Chhetri for €400,000 – and you get 1,2 billion fans at a blow. It sounded absurd – but the aftermath was even more absurd.”

This is just one of the numerous reactions in Germany. The last 48 hours have been very crazy and it should be an eye-opener for everyone that reports and headlines should be handled very carefully. Espcially all of us using social media like Facebook should learn to verify reports and news before spreading them to a global audience. Sadly there are too many people waiting to hear such news and get overexcited when they read some headlines like the alleged “Sunil Chhetri transfer to Borussia Dortmund”!

It is a snowball effect which has reached a new climax with social media paving the way to spread wrong news without cross-checking them. My advice to all of you: Please verfiy news through reliable sources before you post them on Facebook and any other (social) media. It will prevent you from disappointing so many fans waiting to hear such a news and it will also prevent you to disappoint yourself.