London Times Admits Paper Was 'Duped' Into Inaccurate Dream League Football Story
The London Times has admitted that "it was duped into publishing a hoax exclusive about plans for a Qatar-based Dream Football League" in an episode it described as a "journalistic nightmare," according to Josh Halliday of the London GUARDIAN. In a column in Monday's paper, the Times Football Editor Tony Evans admitted that the paper had "missed warning signs about the story in the rush to publication." An internal investigation by the paper's ombudsman revealed that the March 13 story published under the header "Sheikhs shake world game," was "based on an unreliable source and that other pre-publication checks were not sufficiently strident" (GUARDIAN, 3/18). The Times apology was published under the header "When we are wrong, we will hold our hands up. It's the right thing to do." In it, Evans wrote, "There are times when all you can do is admit you were wrong." The story was "a horrible prospect that threatened to transform the sport but appeared to be a brilliant story." Evans explained that reporter Oliver Kay, who wrote the original story, "developed a relationship with a contact who appeared to be connected" with the Qatari ownership at Paris St. Germain. However, Evans admitted the story "appears to have been invented and had just enough plausibility to be seductive" (LONDON TIMES, 3/18).