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Revealed: Why ref asked for Haaland's autograph

Revealed: Heartwarming reason why ref asked for Haaland's autograph in City-Dortmund clash

April 8, 2021 By Ali M.
The Romanian linesman was criticized for showing a lack of professionalism but the reason behind his action is deep.

Man City's UEFA Champions League clash with Dortmund grabbed the headlines on Tuesday for many reasons, but not all were positive. First there was the debatable refereeing decision which robbed Jude Bellingham of a first-half goal; then there was a controversial incident after the final whistle involving one of the match officials and Erling Haaland.

Octavian Sovre, who was the linesman in the Citizens' 2-1 triumph over the Bundesliga giants, sparked controversy after he was caught on camera asking Haaland for his autograph. The assistant referee waited for the Norwegian sensation in the tunnel to make his request, leading to questions regarding his professionalism.

While Man City boss Pep Guardiola took a more diplomatic approach, insisting that he had no issues with the match official's actions, pundits Owen Hargreaves and Joleon Lescott criticized Sovre over what he did. "They had a difficult first-half and they got a lot of things wrong in that first-half. You can be a fan, but you can't do that in front of the other players, it just doesn't look right," were the former Man United midfielder's words of condemnation.

However, the reason behind Sovre's action has now emerged and it's actually heartwarming. Many speculated that the motive was down to either him or one of his kids being a fan of Haaland, but that turns out not to be the case. In fact, according to Romanian outlet Gazeta Sporturilor, the official collects autographs from star names in the beautiful game in order to auction them off for a charity that provides help for young adults suffering from autism.

Simona Zlibut, the president of SOS Autism Bihor Association, the charity group in question, told Gazeta Sporturilor: "That autograph is for a noble cause.

"Maybe people don't know, but Tavi (Sovre) is directly involved in supporting this Association. He has helped us a lot all these years!"

Furthermore, it has been claimed that Sovre was also out for Guardiola's signature, which suggests he was not in awe for one party. Unfortunately, he failed to catch the Spanish tactician, but given the rising popularity of Haaland, the match official could easily raise tons of money for a honorable cause.


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