A national television channel in Syria has accused the world's best football team, FC Barcelona, who has stars such as Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Carlos Puyol, of assisting in the smuggling of weapons to opposition activists fighting against security forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Demonstrating how the smuggling was assisted by Barcelona, Al-Dunya TV, which has supported the regime throughout the revolution in Syria, showed a clip of Real Madrid's match with Barcelona. In one of the scenes, Lionel Messi takes on four Real Madrid players before passing the ball to Pedro, who scores a goal. It is at this point that the narrator of the bulletin claims that Barcelona's formation represented arms smuggling routes to Syrian rebels with the players representing the smugglers, whilst the ball's position representing 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. Last year Al-Duniya accused Al Jazeera Arabic and other Arab TV stations of biased reporting.
The story has been picked up by many Arab satellite networks but whether Syrians believe this or not is another matter.