Popular American satirist Andy Borowitz appears to have fooled the Russian government's official newspaper into believing that U.S. senator John McCain has sincerely called for a military invasion of FIFA, football's governing body.
"We must make FIFA taste the vengeful might and fury of the United States military," Borowitz "quoted" McCain as having said. The latter then supposedly roared: "I will follow Sepp Blatter to the gates of hell," with reference to FIFA's scandal-mired, newly re-elected president.
Borowitz writes a regular satirical column for American magazine The New Yorker. He spins current events into humorous and often bizarre tales of fiction meant purely for entertainment.
In Thursday's edition, Borowitz wrote that McCain had called on the United States to resort to military action to "dismantle and destroy" FIFA, which has been entangled in a corruption scandal that flared up last week.
At the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, Swiss authorities launched an investigation last week into criminal mismanagement and money laundering among FIFA's top officials, some of whom were arrested.
Apparently failing to see the humor in the scenario, Russian state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta published an opinion piece saying that the statements attributed to McCain attested to the United States' blatant disrespect for international law.
Rossiiskaya Gazeta's reaction, penned by Vladislav Vorobyov, cited the same McCain "quotes" featured in Borowitz's piece, arguing that these statements demonstrated that the United States was ready to bomb "any place on the planet" and that American politicians had lost touch with reality.
"It would be interesting to see who he [McCain] would order to bomb if he had real power," Vorobyov wrote. "Football stadiums? The offices of football officials in prestigious quarters of European capitals? Would all balls be sent to secret CIA prisons?"
As of Sunday, Vorobyov's article was still available on Rossiiskaya Gazeta's website.
Last week, President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of meddling in FIFA's affairs and hinted that its corruption investigation was an attempt to prevent Russia from hosting the 2018 World Cup.