An Irish Football Team Is Very Sorry It Claimed A Player Was Dead In Order To Postpone A Game
The Leinster Senior League plans to meet Thursday to determine what punishment is warranted.
The moment of silence was gripping as players across the Irish amateur league, wearing black armbands, stood thinking about Fernando LaFuente, and the crash that his Irish football team said that claimed his life. There was just one weird truly weird thing: Fernando LaFuente is most assuredly alive. No one was more surprised than he to learn that Ballybrack, the Dublin-based Leinster Senior League team, had gotten Saturday game's against Arklow Town postponed because of what it said was LaFuente's death in a motorcycle crash that occurred on his way home from practice Thursday.
LaFuente, who had returned home to Spain for a bit, explained that he knew something was up because his name had been removed from the team's WhatsApp listing. He wasn't expecting this, though.
"I thought it would be me breaking a leg," he told RTE Radio One (via Balls.ie). "I was yesterday at home, after my work finished, playing some video games. I got a call from work and I was like, 'Oh, what's happened?' They told me, 'You're a celebrity' and I was like, 'Why is that?' They started sending me all these news articles.
"That's how I found out that I was dead."
There were messages of condolence, everything you'd expect in such a horrific moment. As appalling as the ploy was, LaFuente, who works in Galway, has managed to find some humor in being, you know, alive.
"It's serious on their part, but I'm finding it a little bit funny because, basically, I'm not dead and no one has actually been harmed," he said.
Ballybrack may not find it so amusing, however. The Leinster Senior League plans to meet Thursday to determine what punishment is warranted.
"We get calls from clubs saying that somebody connected to the club has died and they need a game called off all the time and there is never any hassle about it," Leinster Senior League chairman David Moran told The Irish Times. "But things started to unravel here when we followed up on Monday to see if we could get in touch with the lad's family and see if there was anything we could do. They said the body was already back in Spain, which didn't really add up."
The club was most apologetic, writing a statement on Facebook.
"It has come to the attention of the club, senior players and the management team that a gross error of judgment has occurred, emanating from correspondence sent from a member of the senior management team to the LSL," the statement said.
"As of this evening, an emergency meeting was held and the person in question has been relieved of all footballing duties within Ballybrack FC," the club said. "The club has contacted Fernando to confirm his whereabouts, well-being 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."
Moran admitted that the whole experience was shocking. "We had a minute's silence at all the other games and the players wore black armbands," he said. "You have to have something wrong with you to do something like that."
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