The cut-out was installed underwater by Argentina fans in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep and not by Messi fans in Kerala.
With Argentina winning the FIFA World Cup title on Sunday social media is flooded with images and videos of star Footballer Lionel Messi. The foot baller who led his team to their first World Cup triumph in 36 years.
Football fans in Kerala decorated the state’s streets with cut-outs of famous soccer players. In fact, these cut-outs of players like Neymar Jr, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi became so popular that FIFA‘s official Twitter account acknowledged the state.
Amidst this, a video of one such cut-out went viral. The video shows a man with a group of friends, all wearing Argentina jerseys, standing next to Lionel Messi’s cut-out on a boat. Moments later, we see a person, in scuba diving gear, swimming all the way to the spot with the cut-out amidst coral reefs. Fans also pose with the cut-out underwater.
The caption of the video states, “Kerala’s Craziest Football fans have proved it again. They had promised if Argentina reaches Finals, they will place Messi’s cut-out under the sea among reefs and they did it… I think Messi should visit Kerala”.
This video is also being circulated on Facebook
When we looked closely at the video, we noticed the watermark Lakshadweep vlogger in it. People in the video can be heard saying they are Argentina fans from Kavaratti. Kavaratti is the capital of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep in India. Keeping all of this in mind, we searched Google for more information. As a result, we came across some media reports on the subject.
According to The New Indian Express “The Argenitina fans in Kavaratti Island led by vlogger Mohammed Swadikh installed a 4 m high cutout of Lionel Messi in the depths of Arabian Sea. The cutout has been installed at a depth of 15 m near the Wall of Wonder which borders the deep sea, among the rock formations and coral reefs so that it does not drift away. The scuba divers of the Lakshadweep Scuba Adventure team helped to install the cutout”.
According to Khaleej Times, “Lionel Messi’s cut-out was installed 100 feet under the water. Mohammed Swadikh, a native of Kavaratti islands in India’s union territory of Lakshadweep, made an announcement on Facebook before the Argentina-Croatia semi-final in the Qatar Fifa World Cup. A die-hard Argentine fan, he promised to install Messi’s cutout in the Arabian Sea if the team made it to the final. Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 in the semi-final to reach the final against France and Swadikh kept his word”.
Next, we checked his Facebook profile and found same video uploaded there on 16 Dec 2022 with the caption (Translated to English)
“I have kept my word. If Argentina reaches the final, I will keep Messi’s cutout under the sea. Did you see our boy standing between coral boots and colored fishes. Thankz to Ammathi Scuba & Lakshadweep Adventures Team”
We contacted Mohammed Swadikh for further clarification, and he informed us that the claim made along the video is not correct. The team he worked with to install Messi’s cutout was made up of Lakshadweep residents, and no Keralites were involved in it. He added despite being a Lakshadweep native, he attended college in Kerala and relies on the state for education, treatment, and purchasing goods.
Fact Crescendo found the claim made along with the viral video to be False. The cutout was installed underwater by Argentina fans in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep under the coordination of vlogger Mohammed Swadikh. It was not installed by Argentina fans in Kerala.
Title:Underwater Messi cutout is from Lakshadweep and not Kerala.
Fact Check By: Usha Manoj