You’ve probably seen a recent surge in financial support being given to families of people who passed away tragically. Since 2013, when online donations grew by 13.5%, the prevalence of online giving has only grown exponentially, especially in the wake of tragedy. This is the story that has the trappings of similar tragedies, but a conclusion that, well, lived to tell the tale. Or, at least, to see the tale told.
Let’s pop over to Ireland to hear about the tragic events that befell amateur Dublin soccer player Fernando LaFuente. The Spanish national played for Dublin amateur soccer club Ballybrack FC. Like many amateur soccer players, LaFeunte worked a regular day job on top of playing amateur soccer at the club. A few months prior, he dropped from the team roster to pursue a career in another city.
All was well until he was informed of news of his own death. Ballybrack FC had announced that LaFeunte had tragically passed away in a motorcycle accident. In 2017, the National Safety Council announced that automotive deaths had surpassed 40,000 for the second consecutive year. However, LaFuente was not dead from an auto accident or otherwise. In fact, he was very much alive and playing video games at home.
“After my work finished I was playing some video games, and suddenly I got a call from work. They started sending me all these news articles and all these mass media and that’s how I found out I was dead,” he said after numerous people checked up on him.
Apparently, this ploy to fake his death had been cooked up by team officials in an attempt to get out of playing a match. It certainly worked. The news came on Friday, their Saturday match was canceled, and there was a massive outpouring of support for the grieving team. The ruse was short lived when the chairman of the whole league asked about a funeral and was told LaFuete’s body had already been sent back to Spain to his family. Finally suspicious of foul play, the chairman David Moran contacted a few hospitals and found none of them had seen, had a record of, nor heard of LaFuente. They swiftly got to the bottom of the fraudulent claim.
“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. The person in question has been relieved of all footballing duties,” Ballybrack FC said in an official statement on the debacle.
The league will be mounting a full investigation into the incident. It hardly seems feasible that only one person was responsible for such a wildly false claim. It may result in sanctions against Ballybrack FC as a whole club, but that remains to be seen. In the meantime, LaFuente is very alive and having a good laugh about it.
Motorcycle accidents are 28 times more likely to end in fatalities than accidents in other vehicles, but fortunately the young footballer wasn’t a victim of that statistic. He was a victim of a much rarer one, being alive and hearing about his own death.
“It’s serious on their part, but I’m finding it a little bit funny. Because, basically, I’m not dead,” LaFuente said.
After calling his mother to tell her the fake news, which included an obituary in a Dublin newspaper, we’re glad he’s doing well and taking this scandal with a smile on his face. Long live soccer drama.