Revealed: Linesman asked Erling Haaland to sign his red and yellow cards after Manchester City’s victory over Borussia Dortmund ‘to auction off to an autism charity he has been working with for five years’
- Octavian Sovre was criticized for requesting Haaland’s signature in the tunnel
- The referee approached the Dortmund star after their European draw against City
- But the Romanian has been collecting souvenirs from football players for five years
- He auctions them to raise money for a charity that supports people with autism
Romanian linesman Octavian Sovre asked for Erling Haaland’s signature on Tuesday evening to be auctioned off for an autism charity, it has been revealed.
The referee was criticized for supposedly unprofessional behavior after approaching Borussia Dortmund star Haaland in the tunnel following the German Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City on Tuesday night.
But, as reported by the Romanian newspaper Sports GazetteOver the past five years, Sovre has collected signatures from top footballers to contribute financially to a center for adults suffering from severe autism in his country.
Assistant referee Octavian Sovre asked for the signature of Erling Haaland in the tunnel on Tuesday
Sovre was pictured running after Norwegian striker Haaland and asking for an autograph – seemingly breaking the unwritten rule for neutral referees – before the 20-year-old finally signed his yellow and red cards.
Haaland seemed unaffected by the request and smiled his arm around the assistant referee.
However, Sovre’s actions were criticized by BT Sport pundits, who were unaware of his intentions.
Owen Hargreaves said: “They had a tough first half and they went wrong a lot in the first half. You can be a fan, but you can’t do that in front of the other players, it just doesn’t look good. ‘
Borussia Dortmund star Haaland was pictured smiling with his arm around the referee
Ex-city half Joleon Lescott added: “There is never a good time for that, it just doesn’t bode well for the officials. It’s childish to see. ‘
The veteran Sovre, who was on FIFA’s list of officials for the 17th consecutive year, was also eager to get the signature of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, but only managed to get Haaland on the neck.
Simona Zlibut, president of the SOS Autism Bihor Association, said, “That signature is for a noble cause.
‘People may not know, but Tavi (Sovre) is directly involved in supporting this association. He has helped us a lot all these years!
Referee Ovidiu Hategan controversially blew his whistle when Jude Bellingham was ready to score
The referees also came in for criticism over one of their first-half decisions, with referee Ovidiu Hategan controversially blowing his whistle after Jude Bellingham won the ball from Ederson and was about to tap the ball into an open net.
Rather than letting the 17-year-old throw in the ball and then check the incident with VAR, Hategan blew prematurely, although replays showed Bellingham won it cleanly, if there was anything the City goalkeeper was bothering him with his successor .
City eventually won the match 2-1 thanks to Phil Foden’s 90th minute, with Dortmund holding their own in a draw and on the verge of a 1-1 draw after Marco Reus’ late hit overturned Kevin de Bruyne’s opener did.