Posts falsely claim pan-African broadcaster DSTV launched channel showing Saudi football league

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With the arrival of Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi football league, multiple social media posts have claimed that pan-African Digital Satellite Television (DStv) has launched Channel 240 to broadcast the league's matches. But this is false: DStv’s owner Multichoice announced the creation of horse-racing Channel 240 on January 19, 2021 – long before Ronaldo joined the Al-Nassr football club.

“Al Nassr FC. DSTV Has Added A Saudi League Channel *240*. Ronaldo Effect (sic),” reads a Facebook post published from an unverified account calling itself “Al-Nassr FC”. It has been shared more than 1,000 times since it was published on January 3, 2023.

The verified Facebook and Twitter accounts of Al-Nassr did not publish any posts on the launch of the new channel.

A screenshot showing the false post, taken on January 10, 2023

The claim also appeared on Twitter and TikTok.

Ronaldo signed a two-year deal with the Riyadh-based football club Al-Nassr following the termination of his contract by “mutual consent” with Manchester United.

DStv is a sub-Saharan African video entertainment company providing multiple entertainment and sports channels to millions of subscribers across the continent.

But the claim that DStv launched a new channel for viewers to watch the Saudi league is false.

No Saudi football channel

Searching online for keywords like “DStv channel 420”, AFP Fact Check found a statement released by DStv's owner Multichoice on January 19, 2022, to announce the channel’s launch. It was also reported here.

This was long before Al-Nassr signed Ronaldo on December 30, 2022.

Channel 420 is a 24- hour horse-racing channel and features top races from global racing hotspots such as Dubai, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Contacted by AFP Fact Check, DStv said it does not air the Saudi football league.

“Please disregard the information,” DStv said via its verified Twitter account.

AFP Fact Check has debunked several claims linked to Ronaldo’s arrival in Riyadh, including here and here.