AN Irish amateur football club has apologised after falsely reporting a player's death to force a match to be called off.
It emerged last night that Dublin-based Leinster Senior League (LSL) outfit Ballybrack FC was being investigated by league officials over what it admitted had been a "gross error of judgement".
The club claimed on Friday that its Spanish-born player Fernando Nuno La-Fuenta was killed the day before in a tragic car accident.
The Leinster Senior League placed a death notice for La-Fuenta in a local paper, offering its "heartfelt condolences" to his family and Ballybrack FC before being notified he is still alive.
Ballybrack's game against Arklow Town on Saturday was postponed while a minute's silence was held by rivals Liffey Wanderers and Templeogue United in honour of the undead footballer.
However, it later emerged that La-Fuenta is alive and "in good health" in the west of Ireland – and the player himself has now spoken out about the bizarre claims.
La-Fuenta told the Irish Daily Mail that he had simply moved away from Dublin and was very much alive and kicking.
He explained to the paper that he hadn’t played for Ballybrack FC recently as he had moved to Galway and the capital is now "too far away".
The Spaniard added that he "knew something dodgy was going on" but only realised he had been "killed off" when he saw the news breaking online.
"I have to call my wife in Spain before she hears the news," Fernando said.
In a statement on Facebook last night, Ballybrack FC issued an official apology and confirmed a club secretary had lost his job over the matter.
The club said: "It has come to the attention of both the club, senior players and the management team that a gross error of judgement has occurred emanating from correspondence sent from a member of the senior set-up management team to the LSL.
"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, 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.
"At this stage we can only offer our sincere apologies to the Leinster Senior League, our opponents Arklow Town FC and the host of clubs and football people who made contact with us or offered messages of support in recent days."
The LSL had earlier released a statement which outlined its plans for an investigation.
"The Leinster Senior League will co-operate with all relevant agencies in the investigation of this matter and the league will also deal with this issue through their own internal disciplinary procedures," it said.