A bold headline in the British news outlet on 12 December took the football world by storm. The subject became the talking point for radio and TV shows worldwide. The writer claimed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola had a secret release clause inserted into his contract that would allow him to leave the club at the end of this season if he so desires.
That became the subject of debate among football fans and followers. The matter brought up all sorts of issues concerning the City boss and the club. Some claimed the manager could not stay at a particular club side beyond four seasons as was the case at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Others pushed the narrative that Manchester City’s struggles this term have hit the Catalan hard and so he will seek for a way out at the end of the campaign.
It was a frenzy.
But to realise that the writer fabricated the story and it was a big lie makes it disheartening. That is especially the case when one considers the fact that the medium he used is supposed to be a respectable platform. It’s irresponsible journalism to say the least, which has brought unnecessary and unwarranted scrutiny to the manager’s position at the club.
For those who didn't see the original headline, it read:
”Pep Guardiola’s secret release clause REVEALED: Contract agreement means he could leave at the end of the season... and while Manchester City chiefs are confident of keeping him - they are fans of Mauricio Pochettino.
By Mike Keegan For The Daily Mail”
The fake claims continued in the body of the article:
”Pep Guardiola has a break clause in his contract which could see him leave Manchester City at the end of this season.
”Sportsmail can reveal that the deal the Spaniard signed last year — which saw him extend his original contract until 2021 — included an agreement that he could depart at the conclusion of this campaign should certain stipulations that satisfy the club be met.”
Not only did the writer insinuate that Guardiola could leave Manchester City at the end of the campaign, he also created baseless rumours Mauricio Pochettino could take the reigns at the club. It took the City boss personally denying any such clause in his contract for the truth to be revealed. Yet, many still cling to the initial story. Up until last night, some journalists and analysts were still discussing Guardiola’s forthcoming exit from the club. How much more football fans.
At a time when people are more interested in the sensational, the City manager’s response has fallen on deaf ears. He stated categorically that the report was not true when asked about the issue.
”No. It is not true. I spoke a few weeks ago about my intentions with the club,” Guardiola said.
Speaking last month, the City boss made his intentions about his stay at the club clear.
“I want to stay, I don’t have any reasons to move,” he said.
“I am incredibly satisfied to work with this club, with these players, and if the people think I am going to resign for these results and being nine points behind [Liverpool], the people do not know me,” he concluded.
It’s therefore surprising that a journalist would go on to write lies in order to get clicks and readers and no one calls him out for bringing the profession into disrepute. Indeed, Mike Keegan should be ashamed of himself as should the Daily Mail for peddling lies. Keeping quiet can only help the growth of fake news.