Sunday, 14 July 2013

How social media nearly transferred 'Sunil Chhetri to Borussia Dortmund'!

Sometimes sarcasm and irony is taken serious and further taken totally out of context, while a simple translation also cannot translate sarcasm or irony plus reading an article until the end and properly also does help. Those are my feelings after a crazy Saturday, totally unexpected for me.

Why and how did that happen?

A simple write-up from Borussia Dortmund's ongoing training camp in Switzerland on RevierSport Online about their new Armenian signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the massive interest from the tiny land-locked Armenia made the author write the follow last paragraph:

The question arises whether it is really so easy to draw the attention of an entire country to a club. If yes, BVB should maybe take promising Sunil Chhetri under contract. The 28-year-old striker, who currently plays for the reserves of Sporting Lisbon would cost the club less than one million Euros, is popular in his country and in 61 international matches scored an impressive 36 goals - for India! There waiting around 1.25 billion (!) Potential BVB fans...

It was a sarcastic, ironic remark from the author; who for sure didn't mean it seriously, but it was somewhat taken seriously, so the social media machine started to work.


What about the translation

And this led to the following end of an article on ESPN FC by another German writer, who had understood the above passage:

Mkhitaryan's arrival at Dortmund led to much celebration in his native Armenia. The Central Committee of the Armenians in Germany released a press statement calling him an "exceptional sportsman" and "not only a rising star on the football landscape" but also "a successful ambassador for Armenia".

Mkhitaryan's Dortmund debut was broadcast live on the club's official website, with one in every five viewers hailing from Armenia.

This led local German football weekly Reviersport to suggest that Dortmund should now set their sights on Sporting Lisbon and India international Sunil Chhetri.

The paper said: "He'd be available for less than €1 million and is loved in his home country. He has scored 36 goals in 61 caps for India - some 1.25 billion potential BVB fans."


Both articles clearly state that it was a suggestion from RevierSport writer Stefan Schinken. It was nothing more or nothing less. But Indian social media was buzzing in the early hours of Saturday with the news that Borussia Dortmund was eyeing to bring Sunil Chhetri to Germany.

I got a first call at 6am German time on Saturday morning asking me about the imminent transfer with me not knowing what the person on the other side was talking about. I checked the two articles on RevierSport and ESPN FC before going back to social media and it was crazy.

About three hours later I put out an article on my blog (Borussia Dortmund not interested in Sunil Chhetri, Reviersport article meant with sarcasm) to clarify that Sunil Chhetri wasn't coming to Dortmund, but in-between those three hours I was inundated with calls, mails and messages with people expecting me to simply confirm the happy news, then it was reported in the German media, so no one was worried it could be wrong. Which as you know, if you have read so far, was never ever the case...

After the likes of Kagawa, Lewandowski and Mkhitaryan; our very own Sunil Chhetri signing for the yellow-blacks was just a signature away as per social media. There I hoped my article would bring clarity on the matter, but many kept posting throughout the day that Sunil Chhetri was on his way to Dortmund, some even speaking about the transfer fee and length of contract. It was surreal...

In the end it is incredible that social media had made the transfer possible, only for reality to set in much later.

So my friends, be careful with information, posting news on social media which isn't confirmed. Then it can cause a lot of unnecessary chaos and work for some people...

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