Sky Sports Is Terrible At Fact Checking: When Brazilian Wonderkid Transfer Rumors Go Wrong

This is Wellington Paulista. He plays for Cruzeiro Esporte Club. This is a different club than Esporte Club Cruzeiro.

Despite my insistence that he is wrong, my co-writer Brian Mechanick has told me on numerous occasions that Sky Sports is more reliable than publications such as the Daily Mail, Sun and Mirror. While the transfer rumors from those publications regularly get made fun of by myself and others, Sky is thought of as a slightly higher standard. Why, I have no idea.

This morning, while looking through my RSS feeder, I found a transfer rumor at Sky Sports. This rumor stated that Tottenham had sent scouts to watch Claudinho, a 21-year-old central defender who plays for Cruzeiro. Sky said that he has been compared to Lucio and that Tottenham has sent scouts to watch him. They said that his club valued him at £7 million.

I thought that this was very curious, considering that I had never heard of Claudinho. I follow the Brasileirao and continental competitions in South America, so I figured that I would have at least heard his name mentioned before if he was such a quality player. Still, I am not such an expert on Brazilian football that I know of every quality player, even the ones playing for big teams. It was possible that this one slipped through the cracks.

Turns out, he didn't. There is no 21-year-old central defender named Claudinho who plays for Cruzeiro ES, the Brazilian first division side. There is, however, a 21-year-old central defender named Claudinho who plays for a Club called Cruziero. He plays for ES Cruzeiro, which is not the same thing as Cruzeiro ES. ES Cruzeiro plays in the fourth division of Brazilian football.

ES Cruzeiro currently have one win and five points from eight games in the Campeonatio Brasileiro Serie D, according to wikipedia. I know that's not a terribly reliable source of information, but I can't be arsed to look it up elsewhere because it's really not that important. What's important is that the rumor Sky Sports published is almost certainly false.

I am not, however, accusing Sky Sports of lying. It is quite possible that they got terrible information from someone they thought was reliable. However, they did print an article without checking to see if the player in question even PLAYED for the team in question. Somewhere, at some point down the chain, SOMEONE lied. The editor who posted this article did not make sure that the facts were checked.

Tottenham are almost certainly not scouting this player. If they were scouting this player, it would be highly unlikely that his club would demand £7 million, seeing as there is zero chance that the entire club is worth that much money.

I am not a professional journalist and I am not an expert on Brazilian football. I saw the article, said "that doesn't sound right," and did a bit of googling. It took me less than five minutes to discover that there is no Claudinho on Cruzeiro ES and that there is a 21-year-old defender named Claudinho on ES Cruzeiro, a fourth division club. Five. Whole. Minutes.

For more on the lovely journalistic practices at other outlets owned by BSkyB, check this out.

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