Linesman supported noble cause with Erling Haaland autograph move

The cards linesman Octavian Sovre asked Erling Haaland to sign after the Champions League quarterfinal would be auctioned on Facebook to aid therapy of autistic people aged below 47.

"The cards signed by Erling Haaland (in pic) which Octavian Sovre donated to our Autism centre will be used for a noble cause," Simona Zlibut, who oversees a therapy centre, said.   -  Getty Images

Romanian assistant referee Octavian Sovre's decision to ask Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland to autograph his yellow and red cards raised some eyebrows but the charity that is set to benefit from a cash boost are not complaining.

"The red and yellow signed cards which my kindergarten classmate Octavian donated to our SOS Autism Bihor centre will be used for a noble cause," Simona Zlibut, who oversees a therapy centre set up by parents, told Reuters.

Zlibut's own 21-year-old daughter is autistic and she claims the centre depends on donations. "My little girl doesn't know when to go to the bathroom, she cannot eat alone and the costs are enormous," said Zlibut.

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Assistant referee Sovre managed to get the Norway international Haaland to sign the cards at the end of the Champions League quarterfinal game between Dortmund and Man City at the Etihad Staidum on Tuesday.

It is not normal protocol for football match officials to ask players for autographs after games. Zlibut said the cards would likely be auctioned later this month on Facebook to aid the therapy of 30 autistic people aged below 47 at the centre in the western city of Oradea, on the border with Hungary.

"The state gives me 500 lei ($120.61) per month for my daughter. One cannot imagine what we can 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," added Zlibut.

Former football stars such as Gheorghe Hagi and goalkeeper Helmuth Duckadam, who was in the Steaua Bucharest team that won the European Cup in 1986, had helped the centre in the past, she said.

The 20-year-old Haaland is the most sought after talent in the European game and has been recently linked with a move to Manchester City and its local rival Manchester United as well as Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.