Image saying, “Dear world, thank you for playing with our balls” is a meme, not a government ad

A humorous image was misleadingly reshared by social media users as Pakistan government’s official advertisement for the 2022 FIFA world cup in Qatar

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Claim: An official advertisement from the Government of Pakistan government’s says, “Dear world, thank you for playing with our balls.”

Fact: A humorous image from 2018 recently reappeared online with user’sfalsely claiming it is  the Pakistan government’s official advertisement for the FIFA 2022 World Cup, held in Qatar.

From 19 November, an image was shared by several social media users claiming to be the official advertisement from the Pakistan government for the FIFA 2022 World Cup. This image says, “Dear world, thank you for playing with our balls.”

Fact or Fiction?

Through a Reverse Image Search, we found that this image was first shared on Reddit four years ago by u/DaSquid with the caption, “Pakistan gets it.” The image also reads, “The Telstar 18 is being proudly manufactured in Sialkot, Pakistan.”

A 2018 article from The News mentions that the FIFA World Cup 2018 will use Telstar 10 as the official match ball and that it was produced in Sialkot, Pakistan. 

The official website of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 shows that the official match ball for 2022 is called Al Rihla which means “the journey” in Arabic. This Bloomberg article explains that the Adidas Al Rihla was also produced in Sialkot, Pakistan. However, the Telstar 18 is from 2018. 

Soch Fact Check looked at the Pakistan government’s official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and, contrary to the recent social media posts, did not find any such advertisement shared on these platforms.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 26-day period since 19 November 2022 to 13 December 2022 using the following search terms:

  • “Pakistan” “FIFA” “balls”
  • “Thank you for playing with our balls”

We found posts on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here and here

Conclusion: The Pakistan government did not publish an official advertisement saying, “thank you for playing with our balls.”

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