Fact Check: Underwater Messi cut-out is not from Kerala at all – It’s from Lakshadweep


Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, football fans in Kerala decorated the streets of the state with cutouts of famous footballers. After Argentina’s win over France in the World Cup final, a video went viral claiming to be from Kerala. However, the video is from Kavaratti in Lakshadweep.

Shinu Maggie Suresh

Thiruvananthapuram,UPDATED: 20 December 2022 20:10 IST

After Argentina’s win over France in the World Cup final, a video of a cut of Lionel Messi went viral claiming to be from Kerala. However, the video is from Kavaratti in Lakshadweep.

Author: Shinu Maggie Suresh: Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, football fans in Kerala decorated the streets of the state with cutouts of famous footballers. In fact, these cuts of players like Neymar Jr, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were so famous that even the official Twitter account FIFA he gave a shout out to the statue.

After Argentina’s victory over France in the World Cup final, a video of such a cut went viral. And for good reason. The video purportedly shows fans of the Argentina national team in Kerala submerging a cut of Lionel Messi. It was shared “The craziest football fans in Kerala (India) have proved it again…. They promised that if #Argentina reaches the Final, they would put Messi’s cut under the sea in the reef and they did it… I think #Messi should. visit Kerala”.

AFWA’s investigation found that this video is from Kavaratti, Lakshadweep, not Kerala.

AFWA PROBE

We reverse-engineered the key frames of the viral video, which led us to several news stories about it. According to the New Indian Express, this video was shot in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep by Mohammed Swadikh, a physical education teacher, vlogger and fan of Messi and the Argentina national football team. Ahead of the semi-final match between Argentina and Croatia, Swadikh stated on social media that “If my team wins, I will plant a cut of Lionel Messi in the sea.” And he kept his word.

According to the report, Swadikh sought the help of Lakshadweep Scuba Adventure, a group of 15 that organizes diving for tourists visiting the island. To clarify this further, AFWA spoke to Mohammed Swadikh.

He said “I was born and brought up in Lakshadweep. We depend on Kerala for education, treatment and buying things. I have graduated from MES College, Aluva, Kerala. The team that participated with me in installing Messi’s cutout consists of locals from Lakshadweep. Only the local people of Lakshadweep participated in this and no Keralites participated with us.’

He also said, “After my team [Argentina] reached the finals, with the help of Ammathi Scuba and Lakshadweep Adventures we brought the four-meter-tall cut-out of Messi to the Wonder Wall area and installed it among the rocks and coral reefs,” adding that they “arranged many programs.” welcome to the FIFA World Cup. Messi, Neymar and we put in Ronaldo’s cuts. Every time we want to do something special, we’ve done it.”

It is worth noting that some news organizations, including India Today and Business Today, wrongly reported that this video was from Kerala. This error has since been corrected.

So, while Kerala has ardent football fans (and Argentina fans in particular), this feat was accomplished by Messi fans in Lakshadweep.



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