The Game That Never Was

The official football season was over, and Brazil's São Paulo FC was touring Europe, playing a series of friendly games. On 1 April 1951, fans heard a live broadcast from Italy where the team was playing Milan, with Geraldo José de Almeida reporting for Radio Panamericana. But there was horror and despair throughout São Paulo when the match ended in a humiliating 4-0 rout. Adding to the outrage was a series of referee decisions that had shamelessly favored Milan. But in reality, no game had been played nor even scheduled. The entire broadcast had been recorded in the garage of the owner of the radio station before the team had left for Europe, with the shouts of the crowd and the sound of the ball created by a sound engineer. The revelation of the joke the following day brought relief to fans, but this was quickly followed by anger and cries for legal action to be taken against the station for tarnishing the image of Brazilian football.