The Romanian FA have revealed that assistant referee Octavian Sovre asked for Erling Haaland‘s autograph after Borussia Dortmund’s game with Manchester City on Tuesday to help raise funds for charity.
City won the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie 2-1 after a 90th minute winner from Phil Foden.
After the game, however, Sovre attracted some initial controversy when the official was picked up by the cameras asking Haaland for his autograph in the tunnel.
The 20-year-old signed both his yellow and red cards.
BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves said: “You can’t do that. It just doesn’t look right.”
And former City defender Joleon Lescott, who was working alongside Hargreaves, added that “it’s a childish thing to see.”
However, City manager Pep Guardiola seemed relatively non-plussed when asked about the incident.
He said: “Maybe he is a fan, a fan of Haaland, why not?”
It has now been revealed that Sovre was in fact collecting Haaland’s autograph for a great cause.
Gazeta Sporturilor reported that the Romanian official has been helping with an autism centre, S.O.S Autism Bihor, for five years. He regularly gets autographs from footballers in order to raise extra funds.
The centre is heavily reliant on donations and fundraisers from the auction of valuables, donated by various personalities.
The article also reports that Sovre wanted the autograph of Guardiola as well.
Haaland's signed cards will go to an auction to help people with autism.— Emanuel Roşu (@Emishor) April 7, 2021
That's why Romanian ref Sovre was running after Erling last night at the Etihad. #MCIBVB #bvb pic.twitter.com/QcOcNh90jQ
A wonderful gesture from the Romanian official – let’s hope the Haaland autograph raises a great amount of money for the centre.
The second leg of the quarter-final tie between City and Dortmund takes place on April 14 at Signal Iduna Park.
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