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The tragic phone call arrived Friday morning.
It was then that Ballybrack FC, an amateur football team from Dublin, told league officials that one of its players had been killed in a traffic accident while it was returning home. at home after training. Fernando LaFuente had unfortunately played his last match.
The reaction was fast. Ballybrack's opponents agreed on Saturday to cancel their planned match out of respect for LaFuente, and the Leinster Senior Football League teams watched a gloomy moment before resuming the match.
Condolences to all those involved in Ballybrack FC following the tragic death of their player who was returning home after training on Thursday night. All at Rush Athletic express our deepest sympathies.
– Senior Rush Athletic (@RushAthleticFc) November 24, 2018
There was just one minor problem: Fernando LaFuente is very much alive.
"Once my job was done, I was playing video games and suddenly I got a call from work," LaFuente told RTÉ Radio One on Wednesday. His colleagues called Tuesday night to watch him. They had seen reports of his "accident".
"They started sending me all these articles and all the media," he said. "And that's how I found out that I was dead."
In the end, Ballybrack officials had simulated his death.
Of Spanish nationality, LaFuente said that he was part of the team since January. But he gave up about two months ago, when he left the Irish capital to work in Galway, on the other side of the country. It seems that at least one team leader took advantage of his decision to disengage from Saturday's match.
Later, he asked him why he thought the team had done it, LaFuente said that they were probably struggling with a lean bench as the game approached . "I think they may have had trouble finding players," he told the Irish channel. "They do not play professionally, most of them have a regular job and some of them work in the UK or at the university, people settling elsewhere. ".
League President David Moran said the story began to dissipate Monday when he inquired about funeral arrangements. The response from the team – LaFuente's body had already been repatriated to Spain – immediately "sounded the alarm for us," Moran told RTÉ on Tuesday.
"We checked the hospitals, we checked everywhere," added Moran. "Nobody could find anything about this young man."
The jig was up.
"This serious and unacceptable error was completely false and was committed by a person who is experiencing serious personal difficulties without the knowledge of any other member of the club," Ballybrack FC said in a statement released Tuesday, noting that " the person in question had been removed from all his functions in football ".
Moran promised a detailed investigation of exactly what happened.
Meanwhile, observers have lost little time to explain the incident, including some of the club's opponents: "All living Ballybrack players are welcome to train," said Valeview Shankill FC. joked on Twitter. Another Irish club, playing in another amateur league, has even been transferred to pay tribute.
LaFuente himself said that as early as last weekend, he was aware that Something was up his former teammates had warned him that he might see something online about his accident, but he told RTE: "I thought it would be a broken leg accident."
When he discovered the true extent of the lie, he immediately contacted his mother in Spain to inform him of all information regarding his death – including an obituary in the Dublin newspaper. Herald, LaFuente noted – have been greatly exaggerated.
But on the whole, this walking dying man takes him at a walk.
"It's serious about them, but I find it a bit funny," he said. "Because deep down, I'm not dead."