The much-criticized request from assistant referee Octavian Sovre for an autograph from BVB striker Erling Haaland after the quarter-final first leg between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City (1: 2) has a serious and touching background.
Sovre supports, according to a report by the Romanian Gazeta Sporturilor a center for children and adults with severe forms of autism in the Bihor region for more than five years, financed by donations at an annual auction.
“I cannot describe how much Octavian has helped us for many years,” said Simona Zlibut, head of the club behind the center, the Gazeta Sporturilor. During his work as assistant referee since 2015, Sovre has brought many souvenirs from all over Europe and donated them to the auction.
The BVB star’s autograph is another achievement of the assistant referee, which Zlibut was very happy about. “When I call to ask for money, nobody donates, but when it comes to items, t-shirts, paintings, autographs, and photos that are up for auction, people bid. We know we can’t fund ourselves any other way she explained.
Because of the autograph campaign, Sovre was sharply criticized without this background knowledge immediately after the scene became known. “You can be a fan, but you can’t do that in front of the other players, it just doesn’t look right,” said ex-professional and TV expert Owen Hargreaves, for example.