Not dead footballerFernando LaFuente says he has been “watching my own death” after a club he had played for reported he had died.
When Ballybrack FC told the Leinster Senior League that LaFuente had died in a traffic accident, one of their matches was postponed and others were preceded by a minute’s silence.
The club has apologised and the league has started an investigation.
“My work started sending me all these news articles – that’s how I found out I was dead,” LaFuente told RTE Radio.
The Spaniard, who has moved to Galway and no longer plays for Ballybrack, said the club contacted him last week to let him know he may hear reports he had been involved in an accident.
He added: “I was aware there was going to be some story on me but I thought it was going to be me breaking a leg or something like that.
“I was at home yesterday after my work finished. I was playing some video games. They told me: ‘You’re a celebrity.’
“It was OK because it was a broken leg, I thought. I didn’t care because I wasn’t there any more. If I wasn’t getting in any kind of trouble, why should I care? These little lies, everyone tells once in a while.”
LaFuente acknowledged the idea of a man in his 20s “with his whole life in front of him” dying in a car accident was “sad” but added: “It’s funny for me because I’ve been watching my own death.”
Ballybrack’s game against Arklow Town was called off following their announcement, and the league placed a death notice in an Irish newspaper offering its “heartfelt condolences” to his family and the club.
The club said “a gross error of judgement has occurred emanating from correspondence sent from a member of the senior set-up management team”.
It added the “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”.
LaFuente said: “I have a really good relationship with them. As soon as I heard the news, I wrote to them. They got straight back to me and told me what was going on and they apologised.
“I had to call my mum straight away and she basically didn’t know anything. She saw this morning my photo on all the newspapers. I haven’t spoken with her yet because she didn’t answer any of the messages I sent.”
League chairman David Moran told RTE the club’s secretary had resigned on Tuesday.
LaFuente said he did not think Ballybrack were “afraid” of playing Arklow.
“I think they had a rough time getting players,” he said.
“They don’t play football professionally. Most of them have regular jobs and some of them work in the UK. I think that was the issue. It was nothing major.”
The league has initiated an investigation and said it would “deal with this issue through their own internal disciplinary procedures”.
Fellow Senior League side Liffey Wanderers observed a minute’s silence for LaFuente