Parions Sport, a sponsor of the Ballon d’Or gala, tweeted that Lionel Messi “will be present” at the event today. However, they later clarified that they did not mean it would be in person, necessarily.
“What’s the link between Alex Morgan, Messi & @ParionsSport?” they asked on Twitter. Then, they replied themselves: “They will all be present at the Ballon d’Or ceremony the 2nd of December. @ParionsSport will be hosting the ceremony.”
Fans took this as a sign that the Barcelona ace (and perhaps also Alex Morgan) were the winners of the men and women’s categories at the prestigious gala. Messi has attended the event when not winning in the past, but recently, he has taken to only attending if he is the winner. Many saw the news of him being present at the gala as a sign he had won. Voting has already closed, even though the winner has not been publicly revealed yet.
However, Parions Sport took to Twitter again to say “they never said” that Messi would be attending their event after a Twitter user had written “Messi will attend the Ballon d’Or ceremony” and cited them as a source.
“We don’t know if he will be there on person [sic] at the ceremony. The same for Alex Morgan. It was just a way for us to inform our public that we will be at the ceremony,” they wrote in reply to the user.
The phrasing “be present” could have been figurative. It could have meant their names would have been read out loud, for example. Perhaps this was a misunderstanding?
On the other hand, was this an accidental leak that had to be cleaned up with a denial? The Twitter user who Parions Sport had directly replied to was skeptical, saying “Come on, we are not foolish.”