A match official during the Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund clash created controversy after he requested an autograph from Erling Haaland in the tunnel following the game. The incident was caught on camera with the Dortmund striker signing one of the referee’s cards in one of the Champions League’s most bizarre moments. The Haaland autograph controversy created a furore on social media, with many slamming the referee for “unprofessional behaviour”.
Octavian Sovre Haaland autograph: Critics ashamed after ref claimed Dortmund star’s signature for charity
Romanian linesman Octavian Sovre was at the centre of a controversy following the Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund clash after he sought a meeting with Erling Haaland in the tunnel to seek his autograph. The event created a furore on social media, with many slamming the referee for “unprofessional behaviour”. Former Premier League stars Owen Hargreaves and Joleon Lescott, who were on punditry duty with BT Sport, slammed the official’s actions, suggesting that the incident does not look right, rather “childish”.
Have spoken to Romanian FA about the match officials/Haaland autograph. They say Octavian Sovre did it to raise funds for an autism centre he helps with. More info on @SkySportsNews
— Paul Gilmour (@skysportspaulg) April 7, 2021
However, latest reports suggest that the referee in question was not seeking personal gain but was aiding a greater cause. Sovre reportedly collects autographs from leading sports stars in order to auction them off for a charity in his native Romania that supports young adults suffering from severe autism. As quoted by Goal, SOS Autism Bihor Association president Simona Zlibut 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!”. The revelation came as a huge shock to the critics who were severe in the criticism of the linesman for his behaviour. The report from Gazeta Sporturilor claims that Sovre had also been hoping to collar City boss Pep Guardiola, but could only catch up with Haaland.
Erling Haaland has developed into one of the greatest players plying their trade in Europe in recent seasons, but failed to make his mark against Manchester City on Tuesday. The 20-year-old was isolated quite a lot during the first half, but bounced back fairly in the second half, forcing a point-blank save from Ederson. Haaland did well to set up captain Marco Reus’ equaliser, who cashed in on his chance to earn Dortmund a precious away goal. However, Phil Foden had the last laugh as he turned a De Bruyne ball into the back of the net in the 90th minute to clinch a famous 2-1 win for Man City. The two teams will now face off at the Signal Iduna Park next week, with Manchester City chasing their first semi-final appearance in the Champions League.