Barcelona accused of being part of an anti-Assad plot by Syrian TV with the clue, apparently, in their formations
The current trend for analysing football tactics and formations until all of the game's blood is methodically sucked from its neck has endangered plenty of chalkboards and flipcharts in recent years.
But unlike other fields of forensic over-analysis such as Beatles lyrics, the moon landings and the queen's similarity to a lizard, in-depth tactical pontificating has until now been kept from the clutches of the world's lovably bonkers conspiracy theorists. Not any more.
A state-owned Syrian TV channel has claimed that analysis of Barcelona's formation "represents arms smuggling routes".
Al Dunya TV believes that infinitely more reputable media outlet Al-Jazeera Sport was "distorting the facts" in their post-match breakdown of Real Madrid v Barcelona last December.
The clip above proposes that an analysis of Barcelona's passing movements gives clues about weapons routes to Syrian rebels attempting to oust President Bashar Assad.
The ball, apparently, represented the weapons. The Barcelona players, allegedly, are the smugglers. Real Madrid's, it claimed, represented blockages as weapons were brought in from Lebanon.
So when the analysts showed the ball moving from one player to the other, and getting round Real Madrid's defence, the rebels were made aware of the location of the weapons. Obviously.
The voice-over informs us that when the ball is passed by Lionel Messi it means that weapons have reached rebels in Dir al-Zur. It's all so clear now, isn't it?
You don't even want to know what an uncontested drop ball is supposed to mean, but let's just say if you see one in a Barcelona game it's best to panic and cower under the nearest desk.
No one in the office knows the Arabic for "but seriously folks ...", so it's difficult to discern how seriously the narrator is taking his own outlandish claims.
But if he is to be believed (and for the purposes of laughter let's assume he is) why should we stop with Barcelona?
The Premier League has dozens of ready-made conspiracy theories. For instance, did you know that every time Wayne Rooney is caught swearing by a camera it is a coded message for Coleen to set the Sky Plus to record Dancing On Ice?
Have you ever heard the compelling evidence about Arsène Wenger being replaced with a replicant that hated defending corners in 2007?
Were you also aware that manager's pointing signals from the touchlines are elaborate signals to our alien overlords about which towns are ripest for harvest?
This practice is rumoured to have ceased after this confused message from Avram Grant in his Chelsea days:
But that should not discourage those who are unafraid to look for meaning in the ostensibly meaningless.
The truth is out there. It's just probably only the truth if you're broken in the mind.