An Irish amateur football club has apologised for a “gross error of judgement” after it falsely claimed one of its players had died.
Ballybrack FC, who play in the Leinster Senior League, reported that Fernando Nuno La Fuente had been killed in a road accident last Thursday.
The club’s next match, against Arklow FC, was postponed and the league posted an announcement in The Herald newspaper.
Players in the league observed a minute’s silence and wore black armbands in support of the man’s family at matches over the weekend before it was discovered the Spanish student had in fact returned to Spain.
On Tuesday night, the Dublin-based club admitted on Facebook that the Spaniard was alive and well and apologised for what it called a “grave and unacceptable mistake”.
In a statement, Ballybrack officials said the error was made “by a person who has been experiencing severe personal difficulties”, adding that they had “been relieved of all footballing duties” following an emergency meeting.
“At this stage we can only offer our sincere apologies to the Leinster Senior League, our opponents Arklow Town FC and the host of clubs and football people who made contact with us or offered messages of support in recent days.”
League chairman David Moran told TheJournal.ie that he later learned the crash had not happened and that the man had simply flown home to Spain.
Condolences to everyone involved at Ballybrack FC on the tragic passing of their player making his way home from training on Thursday night. All at Rush Athletic express our deepest sympathies.
— Rush Athletic Senior (@RushAthleticFc) November 24, 2018
“We were informed on Friday morning that a young lad had passed away,” Mr Moran said.
“So, yesterday the we asked the secretary for the league to find out when the funeral was or what was happening so we could send a representative of the league and make sure the family was alright for a few bob.
“We got a call back saying that his body had been sent back to Spain and that’s when the alarm bells rang. I was saying ‘what do you mean?’. They wouldn’t have been able to do an autopsy or whatever in that time.
“We started investigating it yesterday and then I got a call saying that he had just left to go home to Spain. I’m delighted the young lad’s alive but I’m absolutely dumbfounded by what’s going on,” he added.