The Times admits to 'massive mistake' over Qatar Dream League story

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The original story suggested teams would be offered £175m to play in the league

The Times newspaper has published a full climbdown following an internal investigation of the 'Qatar Dream League' story it ran last week, an episode the paper on Monday described as a “journalistic nightmare”.

In a column headlined 'When we are wrong, we will hold our hands up. It's the right thing to do', the newspaper's Football Editor Tony Evans said it had appeared increasingly clear that the newspaper had been duped, and that their checks had not been stringent enough in the rush to publication.

The Times had initially launched a spirited defence of its March 13 story that Qatar was to launch a "Dream Football League" even though a French website said the scoop was based on its own spoof and that the paper had been the victim of a hoax.

"It all came out of my imagination," Jerome Latta, the editor of Les Cahiers du Football, told Reuters of the tale that the Qataris were proposing a new moneyspinning summer tournament offering stunning financial rewards.

The Qatar Football Association swiftly distanced itself from the story, saying they had no involvement and had heard nothing, but the Times stood firmly behind reporter Oliver Kay, insisting their scoop had nothing to do with the website's version.

Kay, the newspaper's chief soccer correspondent, was equally adamant, at the time telling Reuters: "I've been amused by the speculation about the source of this story. I can guarantee you 100 percent, 1,000 percent, 175 million percent, that my story had nothing to do with any website, spoof or otherwise.

"I've no idea about their modus operandi. What I know is that my source is very good, the information is very good and that there is more where that story came from."

Still, though, intense speculation on social media websites continued and on Monday Evans conceded that the Times had made a "massive mistake".

"Because so many significant people in football did not laugh off the idea, it seemed that the story could be genuine," Evans wrote.

"The warning signs - that no one had heard specific details of the DFL or seen its plans - were missed. In principle, the idea was possible. There were plenty to attest to that.

"In reality, the story appears to have been invented and had just enough plausibility to be seductive."

The Times's climbdown was mostly welcomed by those following the story online, many applauding the newspaper for its transparency and for admitting it shortcomings with regard to the story.

Reuters

News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Sport
footballLive: All the latest from today's Premier League matches
News
Nick Clegg playing 'Palin or prom queen'
newsNick Clegg on TV's The Last Leg
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee