DUBLIN — A death notice for a soccer player was posted in a local newspaper. A game was postponed. Teams across the league held a minute's silence.
Soccer clubs in the Leinster Senior League in Ireland united over the weekend to honor the memory of a player who was thought to have been killed in a traffic accident last week.
Turns out it was all one big mistake.
Amateur team Ballybrack FC has apologized for a "gross error of judgment" after falsely reporting that one of its players, Fernando Nuno La Fuente, died on Thursday.
La Fuente is, in fact, still alive, the team said.
"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," Ballybrack said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
The club said the person in question was fired after an emergency meeting.
The league offered its "sincerest apologies for any distress caused as a result of notifying clubs as to the demise of a valued player."
Ballybrack, a team based in Dublin, postponed its game against Arklow Town on Saturday, while other teams in the league held a minute's silence in honor of La Fuente.
David Moran, chairman of the league, said the story began to be exposed after inquiries were made regarding offering support to La Fuente's family.
"We were told he was flown back to Spain on the Saturday. Straight away, that rang alarm bells for us," Moran told Irish broadcaster RTE. "We checked the hospitals, we checked everywhere. Nobody could find anything about this young fellow."
Moran said some of La Fuente's friends said he had gone to Spain four weeks ago.
"The club has contacted Fernando to confirm his whereabouts, well-being," Ballybrack said, "and (is) thankful for his acceptance of our apology on this matter."