Player back from dead after grave mistake

Call it audacious, call it tasteless, call it Twainesque, but don’t call the undertaker just yet: Fernando Nuno La Fuente, whose football club in Dublin faked his death, is alive and well in Spain.

Last Friday, Ballybrack FC told Leinster Senior League (LSL) officials that the Spanish third-level student had died in a car crash as he left training the previous evening.

The club were due to play a match against Arklow on Saturday, but the game was called off as a mark of respect — the result the pranksters had hoped for.

The LSL circulated news of the tragedy to member clubs and players wore black armbands and observed a minute’s silence at the other games over the weekend.

La Fuente’s apparent demise was even recorded in the Herald Striker, Ballybrack FC’s media partner, with a statement from LSL secretary Pat Kiernan, who offered “heartfelt condolences to Fernando’s family, and also to Ballybrack FC”.

However, when the LSL began inquiries about sending an official to the funeral, and the possibility of making a donation to the family, it emerged that reports of La Fuente’s death had been greatly exaggerated.

The LSL was forced to issue a statement saying notification of the player’s demise was “without foundation” and it was “glad to hear that the player is in good health and has returned to his native Spain”.

No such good news for La Fuente’s clubmates; the LSL intends to deal with them through its “own internal disciplinary procedures”, as well as “co-operating with all relevant agencies in the investigation of this matter”.

The LSL will meet tomorrow evening to decide what punishment to mete out to Ballybrack FC.

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