A minute’s silence was held in an Irish league over the weekend for a player who turned out to be alive and has given his side of the story
The footballer caught up in a faked death controversy has explained how he read of his own demise after being alerted to the news by work colleagues.
Ballybrack, who play in the Leinster Senior League in the Republic of Ireland, apologised on Wednesday after making a false claim that Fernando Lafuente had been killed in a road traffic accident.
The claim led to the postponement of the club’s clash with Arklow Town and the staging of a minute’s silence at the league’s other fixtures.
Ballybrack blamed the incident on a member of the senior management team “who has been experiencing severe personal difficulties unbeknownst to any other members of the club”.
Lafuente, who moved to Galway from Dublin – where the club is based – two months ago, says he knew a story was being cooked up, potentially in a bid to force the abandonment because “they had a rough time getting players”.
“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,” he told RTE Radio 1 .
“I was home yesterday after my work finished. I was playing some video games. They told me, ‘you’re a celebrity.’
“They started sending me all these news articles and mass media. And that’s how I found out I was dead.
“It’s serious on their part but I’m finding it a little bit funny because, basically, I’m not dead.”
He added: “I was taken out [of the WhatsApp group] on Saturday. I knew something was going on and they called me and said ‘Okay Fernando, you might see the League post something on Twitter saying you had an accident.’ But I thought it was going to be a broken leg type accident.
“I have a really good relationship with them. It was just to let me know.
“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.
“My wife had some Facebook fuss but she already knew everything. 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.”