A state-owned Syrian television channel has claimed that FC Barcelona, arguably the best soccer team in the world, is assisting in the smuggling of weapons to rebels fighting against security forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
In a segment aired last December on how Arab media outlets such as Al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya were "distorting the facts," Al Dunya TV showed a clip from a game between Barcelona and archrival Real Madrid.
Al Dunya TV segment on Barcelona 'plot'
The narrator claimed that Barcelona's formation represented arms smuggling routes to Syrian rebels. The players represent the smugglers, the narrator said, while the ball's position represents the current location of the weapons.
According to the narrator, when Barcelona star Leo Messi passes the ball it indicates that the weapons have reached rebels in Dir al-Zur.
The clip, which was posted on YouTube and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, was mocked by news outlets throughout the Arab world.
This was not the first time Al Dunya TV claimed a sporting event was part of a plot to remove Assad from power. It recently accused an Al Jazeera sportscaster of inciting against Assad during a soccer game between Syria