Monday 23 September 2019

Soccer club saying I was dead to avoid match 'a bit funny': player

Fernando Lafuente Saiz
Fernando Lafuente Saiz
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

The man who was "killed off" by his former soccer club in Dublin believes they took the drastic action as they hadn't enough players to field a team for an upcoming fixture.

Fernando Lafuente Saiz, who played with Ballybrack FC until the end of September before moving to Galway, said he was alerted to the messages saying he was dead when he got a phone call from his workmates.

Speaking to 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' on RTÉ Radio One yesterday, the Spanish national said he was aware his former club might post something about him being in an accident, but he thought "it would be a 'breaking a leg' kind of accident".

"When I saw the news, I wrote to them, they got straight back, and apologised. It's serious on their part but I'm finding it a little bit funny because basically I'm not dead," he said. "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."

Despite the false claim of his death, he said he had nothing but fond memories of playing for the club. "It was a great experience. I had just moved here, I didn't have any close relationships with anyone in Dublin.

"I spoke with them and I'm sure it was a one-man decision. They're a group of guys and I don't think they would all agree on this kind of excuse."

When asked if they were afraid of playing Arklow, Mr Lafuente Saiz said: "I don't think they were afraid, I think maybe they had a rough time getting players. They don't play professional, most of them have regular jobs, some work in the UK or at university, people moving to other countries. I think that was it, I don't think it was anything major."

Ballybrack's match against Arklow last weekend was called off after claims that their player Mr Lafuente Saiz was killed in a car crash on the way home from training on Thursday night.

The Leinster Senior League paid their "heartfelt condolences" to Mr Lafuente Saiz's family and club, as did a host of other clubs in the League.

The league's players wore black armbands and held a minute's silence at matches over the weekend.

On Tuesday night, the Leinster Senior League issued a statement saying Mr Lafuente Saiz was alive and well, saying the notification of his death shared with them by Ballybrack FC was "completely without foundation".

Ballybrack issued an apology, saying a "gross error of judgment" led to the fake reports.

Yesterday, the Leinster Senior League said it was in "regular contact" with the club and are assisting the members involved.

Officials for the League were expected to meet with the club later today.

Irish Independent

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