An Irish soccer club was forced to apologize Tuesday after falsely stating one of its players had died.
Ballybrack FC told Leinster Senior League officials that Fernando Nuno La-Fuente had been killed in a motorcycle accident, forcing postponement of its match against Arklow Town FC, according to the Guardian. Players across the league also wore armbands in remembrance of La-Fuente, according to Deadspin.
The league investigated La-Fuente’s death and discovered some of his teammates were posting on social media that he had gone back to Spain, according to the Guardian.
“We rang and we couldn’t get any answers out of them,” Leinster Senior League chairman David Moran told the RTE Sport. “We checked the hospitals, everywhere. Nobody could find anything about this young fella. Some of his teammates [then] released stuff on social media, saying he went back to Spain four weeks ago.”
The league condemned Ballybrack FC after it was confirmed La-Fuente did in fact return to Spain.
“THE Leinster Senior League would like to acknowledge that the notification of the death of a Ballybrack FC player as shared with all member clubs and media partner is, without foundation,” Moran said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the player was in “good health” and returned to Spain.
Ballybrack FC called the incident a “gross error of judgment.”
“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,” a statement read.
“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.”
Moran told the Irish newspaper he will meet with the club Thursday to discuss a punishment.