After the Champions League match on Tuesday, assistant referee Octavian Sovre asked the Dortmund striker for his autograph to auction for charity.
Following the conclusion of a thrilling match between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City at the Etihad, assistant referee Octavian Sovre may have appeared overly excited when asking Erling Haaland to autograph his red and yellow cards.
But the official had good intentions and has since donated them to the SOS Autism Bihor centre in his country of Romania.
The centre relies on donations
Simona Zlibut, one of the people in charge of the centre, told The Guardian that the cards were going towards a “noble cause” and will be auctioned off on Facebook later this month.
Located in the city of Oradea, which borders Hungary, the centre provides therapy for 30 autistic people below the age of 47. Zlibut has a daughter that is autistic.
He bemoaned the lack of financial assistance from the government to better accommodate the needs of autistic people. He said:
The state gives me 500 lei (£88) per month. One cannot imagine what we do with this meagre sum ... we, parents, rely on donations, we auction skirts, photographs, autographs, whatever we get, to make up for the huge shortfall.
Not his first time making headlines
Despite his noble intentions, the Romanian referee committee has suspended Sovre for the time being, according to football journalist Emanuel Rosu. This is not the first time that Sovre faced criticism publicly this year.
In March, UEFA reprimanded and ordered him to attend an educational seminar for his role in the sending-off of Istanbul Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo during a Champions League tie against Paris Saint Germain.
Webo, who is Black, alleged that another official on that night made racist comments about him. The entire team walked off the pitch and wouldn’t resume playing until that official was replaced.