Maradona Joins Soviet Soccer Team

The Soviet newspaper Izvestia reported that the world-renowned Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona was in negotiations to join Spartak Moscow, who were to pay him $6 million to play on their struggling team. The Associated Press quickly picked up this surprising story and distributed it to their subscribers, but had to publish a retraction after querying Izvestia for more details and receiving the response that they should be mindful of the date. The AP had believed the story because Soviet papers had never before published an April Fool's Day hoax. It was simply unheard of for the dour, state-run publications to crack a joke. The sudden display of humor was credited to Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost, or openness, instituted the previous year.