Abrar Ifaz

Research Officer, Dismislab
Messi not covering Jamal Bhuyan’s overdue salary; misinformation being spread

Messi not covering Jamal Bhuyan's overdue salary; misinformation being spread

Abrar Ifaz

Research Officer, Dismislab

The claim circulating on social media that Argentine football legend Lionel Messi has pledged to pay the outstanding salary of Bangladesh national team captain Jamal Bhuyan is false. The misinformation seems to have originated from a satirical post on a Facebook page, Argentine Legends, which was later widely shared on social media platforms. Additionally, fake photo cards bearing the name of a local television channel, DBC, have been circulated, falsely claiming that DBC reported the news. Upon verification, it has been confirmed that DBC has not published or posted any such news on its official platforms, nor has any other credible news source reported this claim.

A counterfeit photocard, purportedly from the television channel DBC, has been circulating on social media, falsely asserting that Lionel Messi has pledged to pay the salary of Bangladesh national team captain Jamal Bhuyan. The misinformation has further  been propagated through various Facebook posts (1, 2, 3).

The Football Tribunal of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has directed Argentine third-tier club Sol de Mayo to settle the due salary of Bangladeshi national football team captain Jamal Bhuyan. However,  no evidence has been found about any connection between Lionel Messi and this particular club. 

In August 2023, Bangladeshi footballer Jamal Bhuyan signed a contract with Argentine third-tier club Sol de Mayo, worth $12,000 per month and set to last  until October of the current year. However, due to seven months of salary non-payment, Bhuyan terminated his contract and returned to Bangladesh to join Abahani Limited Dhaka. He eventually filed a complaint against Club Sol de Mayo in the FIFA Tribunal. Recently, the Tribunal ruled in Bhuyan’s favor, ordering Club Sol de Mayo to transfer a total of $162,980 into his bank account.

But, misleading posts circulating on social media falsely claim that “Once King Messi found out that Jamal Bhuyan is a Bangladeshi player, he promised to pay all his due salary.” Similar claims have been disseminated using a fake photocard bearing the name of DBC News. Upon verification, Dismislab has found no evidence of such news on DBC News’s official Facebook page or website. However, the counterfeit photocard with DBC News’s logo bears a resemblance to a genuine photocard posted on their page on January 16th.

The earliest Facebook post found claiming that Lionel Messi will pay Jamal Bhuyan’s outstanding salary appears to have originated from a page named Argentine Legends and it was posted on May 11th. The post asserts that Messi will pay Jamal Bhuyan’s due salary. Two days later, on May 13th, another post from this page, claimed that Messi has not only paid Bhuyan’s due salary but also given him an extra payment. Both posts on the page were in the form of photocards. The page claims to be fans of the Argentine national football team.

The Facebook page Argentine Legends appears to be operated from Bangladesh. While it presents itself as a fan page for the Argentine national football team, its contents primarily consist of satirical posts. For example, on May 8th, they shared a distorted photocard for World Donkey Day with the caption, “Everyone, send us your wishes 🇦🇷❤️.” When asked about the page’s credibility, sports journalist and sub-editor of Ajker Patrika, Upal Barua aptly characterized it as a “satire page.” Despite its satirical nature, some individuals have misconstrued the information shared on the page as factual (1, 2, 3).The misinterpretation of satirical posts as factual information is not a new phenomenon. A recent report by Dismislab titled “Spreading fake for fun: trap of deceptive parody accounts” underscores how social media parody posts or accounts can deceive unsuspecting users and even media outlets. In 2023, another Dismislab report, showed that a fake conversation of Pakistani cricketer Babar Azam was posted from a Twitter handle named Nimo Yadav, which was mistakenly taken as true by various media outlets. While the Nimo Yadav tweet was intended as satire, it was mistakenly perceived as factual by many.