Linesman Octavian Sovre asked Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland to sign the referee’s cards in a bid to raise funds via auction for an autism centre.
The Romanian FA have confirmed the reason for the request after Sovre was initially criticised, but he was doing so for a noble reason following the Champions League encounter with Manchester City.
Haaland and his team-mates go into the second leg with a 2-1 deficit following Phil Foden’s late winner after Marco Reus cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s opener.
Although there was plenty to talk about on the pitch including Jude Bellingham controversially having a goal ruled out, Sovre stole the headlines in the tunnel.
Cameras spotted the official asking Haaland to sign the referee’s cards just seconds after the game had come to an end, causing speculation on social media with the reasoning unknown.
According to Sky Sports, Romanian FA confirmed that Sovre asked for Haaland to sign his cards to raise funds for an autism centre that he helps with.
As reported by Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor, Sovre has collected autographs from football stars on a regular basis over the past five years to help adults suffering from severe autism.
Pep Guardiola had said when asked about the incident: "They told me, I didn’t see it, maybe he’s a fan.
"Why not? The referees were brilliant, the game was not a problem. Not a penalty, the VAR said that.
“And the leg is higher from Bellingham. So they were perfect and it was correct.
“Maybe it was for his son or daughter. It happens but they did a good job, that’s all. Nothing happened."
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Owen Hargreaves had said of the Romanian officials before the details became apparent: “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.”
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