·28 November 2018
·28 November 2018
An Irish football club has apologised after falsely reporting a player had died, which prompted the postponement of their own match and a minute's silence to be held at others.
Ballybrack claimed Fernando Nuno La Fuente had been killed in a road traffic accident and their Leinster Senior League (LSL) clash with Arklow Town on Saturday was suspended as a result.
But it later transpired that the Spanish player was, in fact, still alive and had returned to his homeland.
"It has come to the attention of both the club, senior players and the management team that a gross error of judgement has occurred emanating from correspondence sent from a member of the senior set-up management team to the Leinster Senior League," read a club statement.
"As of this evening an emergency meeting was held and the person in question has been relieved of all footballing duties within Ballybrack FC, its senior team and roles within the club itself. The club has contacted Fernando to confirm his whereabouts, wellbeing and are thankful for his acceptance of our apology on this matter.
"This grave and unacceptable mistake was completely out of character and was made by a person who has been experiencing severe personal difficulties unbeknownst to any other members of the club.
"The club will continue to provide a duty of care to all parties and offer the support that may be needed at this time. This person had previously contributed greatly to the senior team within the club in recent years and to the wider footballing community across Dublin for decades.
"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."
LSL chairman David Moran told RTE that "alarm bells" started ringing for the league when the club claimed the player's body had been flown back to Spain a day after the alleged incident.
"It started to unravel then," he said. "We rang and we couldn't get any answers out of them.
"We checked the hospitals, we checked everywhere. Nobody could find anything about this young fella. Obviously, some of his team-mates released stuff on social media saying he went back to Spain four weeks ago.
"We don't honestly know why they did it. It seems a bit extreme to do something like that to get a game off. All they had to say was they were giving a walkover and they'll get their fine and that's the end of it.
"It's very extreme to get a game off. We acted in good faith. We had a minute silence at the weekend for that young lad. It's absolutely ridiculous."