‘Dead’ Ballybrack player learned of demise from friends’ calls

Dublin club faked death of Fernando Nuno La Fuente to avoid playing away game

A football player who was reported dead by Dublin club Ballybrack so the team could avoid playing an away game has said the first he knew of his demise was on Tuesday evening, when he received calls from friends and colleagues.

"That's how I found out I was dead," Fernando Nuno La Fuente said on Wednesday morning.

He said he had been aware that his name was going to be used as a reason to get last weekend’s scheduled match in Arklow postponed, but he thought the story was going to be that he had a broken leg.

Mr La Fuente, who lives and works in Galway said: “Last night I was at home after work, playing video games when I got a call from work saying ‘you’re a celebrity’. They said I was on the news.”


He knew he had been taken out of a players' WhatsApp group and had been told that the league might postpone the game because of his falsely-reported broken leg. "I was called, just so I was warned," he told RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke programme.

Mr La Fuente did not know about his supposed “death” until he heard of the reports when he contacted the club.

“They came back and apologised,” he said. “It was serious on their part, but I’m finding it a little funny. No one was harmed.”

He said his wife has received some Facebook posts and said he had to call his mother straight away as she did not know what was going on. His family had been following news reports and had seen his photograph.

The IT worker said he moved to Ireland when the IT industry in Spain “went a little bit clunky”.

“I got a really good job here. I sold my car, my house, my motorbike and moved,” he said.

When asked about the behaviour of the club, taking such an extreme action to avoid an away game, he replied: “I didn’t care. I’m not there any more. I’m not getting in trouble. It was a little lie.”

When he first moved to Ireland in December last year he lived and worked in Dublin, but in September moved to Galway. His experience playing with Ballybrack was very positive, he said.

“I wasn’t one of the best players, I was lower tier. The club had a really good vibe. It was a great experience, it is one of the best things I did,” he said.

He said he had no relations when he moved to Ireland and liked playing with the club.

He said: “I missed very few training sessions. It’s a bit sad, you don’t often get a 20 year old man dying in a car accident.

“I don’t know how I feel about watching my own death, watching the hashtag #siestainthesky, I’ve had the fun of the story.”

Mr La Fuente said he didn’t know why the club wanted to avoid the away game. Perhaps they had difficulty getting a team as many of the players have full time jobs or are at university.

“I think that was the issue, nothing major,” he said.

He said that he had spoken with the club and understood that it was one man’s decision. He did not think that all the club officers agreed with the action.