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

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence