Mild shock was seen through parts of the Oceania football community on social media a few days back when what looked like a brand-new league in Nauru was found.
The website Nauru.me claims to be a soccer league in Nauru.
“We are pleased to announce the start of a new soccer season under the Nauru Soccer League brand! Return soccer to the Nauruans!” the header on the website reads.
Some football websites jumped at the opportunity to break such a story an immediately posted articles about a new league.
For others, alarm bells immediately went off, as Nauru is a country with no official FA established and a population just shy of 13.000 people,
The website contained no pictures of any sort, but yet claimed to have a league with eight teams and matches being played every week. At the time of writing, five matches have supposedly been played.
The internet code .me is the country code for Montenegro, but that in itself isn’t the most convincing of evidence. After a quick google search of a random selection of the player names listed on the website, it looked even more suspicious.
While some names gave little to no results, others came back as names that appeared in the 1940 US Census, usually with the name on the Nauru website having added a letter or two.
Sources say fake
After speaking to sources on the island, it is clear that the league is not part of any new Nauru FA.
Speaking to Nauru National Olympic Committee President Marcus Stephen only makes the alarm bells ring louder. Football in Oceania asked if there was established a league on Nauru.
“We did have one and is now dysfunctional. Don’t think that link belongs to us,” he said.
Kaz Cain is one of the people on Nauru working hard to get a proper FA up and running on the island. He decisively says the league is a fake.
“I would like to say that the Nauru Soccer league is a fake….all the names in the teams list are incorrect and we are looking into this matter. As far I know there is no tournament of such,” he tells Football in Oceania.
What the website says
An email to the address listed on the Nauru.me website asking for clarification and photos gave this response:
“Thank you for your kind words, but please read the disclaimer on the main page of the site (in bold in the footer of the page). I will also duplicate this here: Denial of responsibility: The Nauru Soccer League website is not an official Nauru championship and is not affiliated with the Nauru FA in any way. We just want soccer back in Nauru! The people of Nauru deserve their soccer league! I hope you also want soccer to be in every corner of our planet.”
The footer mentioned in the text has been added in the last few hours or day as it was not present when the website first appeared.
The email is not signed with a name, and follow up questions about who is behind the website and if this is just an online league or if there are actual matches taking place, have so far not been answered.