Why UCL ref sought Haaland autograph

UEFA Champions League

The reason behind Romanian linesman Octavian Sovre's controversial request for Erling Haaland's autograph has been revealed.

On Tuesday, Sovre made headlines when he was filmed asking Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland for his signature following the UEFA Champions League clash between the Bundesliga side and Manchester City.

The official was widely criticised for seeking the Norwegian star's autograph but it has since emerged that it was all for a good cause as the red and yellow cards on which Haaland penned his signature have been donated to the S.O.S. Autism Bihor charity.

"That autograph is for a noble cause," charity official Simona Zlibut told Gazeta Sporturilor. "Maybe the world doesn't know, but Tavi is directly involved in supporting this association, through which this single accredited centre for adults with severe forms of autism in Bihor operates.

"There are only five [such centres] in the whole country. I have no words to describe Tavi Sovre because he has helped us a lot all these years!"

Dortmund, who suffered a 2-1 defeat to City on the evening, will host Pep Guardiola's side in the second leg next week Wednesday when they will look to overturn the deficit and advance to the next round of the competition.

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