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Romanian assistant referee Octavian Sovre is under fire for requesting Erling Haaland’s autograph following last night’s Champions League clash between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. The quarterfinal first leg tie finished 2-1 to the hosts at the Etihad, with Phil Foden scoring a 90th-minute winner. Just before that, Haaland made an impact in providing an assist for Marco Reus’ potentially vital away goal, and it is still possible that the Germans dump the Premier League leaders out of the competition at this stage. Also on rt.com
UEFA suspends Romanian official over racism row which sparked Champions League walk-off I’ve never seen it before, but they did a good job.”The referees were brilliant, the game was not a problem so it’s not a penalty after the VAR, people told me it was not a penalty,” he concluded, in reference to a controversial moment in the scrappy win.I have seen in mixed zone week in week out referees leaving games in Serie A with shirts gifted by players— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) April 6, 2021Other social media users concurred, pointing out that Sovre is “only human” and “didn’t kill anybody”.Attempting to lighten the mood, The Guardian’s Barry Glendenning made a wisecrack that Sovre “may have just duped the world’s most sought after striker into signing a tiny yellow five-year contract with CFR Cluj.”There’s always one, though, who pointed out in the replies that Romanian officials have “hardly covered themselves in glory in this year’s” tournament – a nod to a race storm that resulted in PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir staging a walk-off during the group phase. “Maybe he’s a fan of Haaland, so why not?,” the Catalan coach asked.”Maybe it was for his son and daughter. It’s a childish thing to see.”A grown man getting someone’s autograph is a bit weird imo— R.Belly⚫️⚪️🍀 (@BellChapo1892) April 6, 2021As a member of the Associated Press scoffed that UEFA wouldn’t approve of such an act, others online joined the pile-on by branding Sovre “a bit weird” and “unprofessional”. Others fought his corner, though.”They told me [about it] — I didn’t see it,” said Guardiola post-match. Also on rt.com
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A transfer target for Pep Guardiola’s men this summer, Haaland is European football’s hottest property who everybody wants a piece of. It seems that this has extended to the officials too.In the tunnel, as the 20-year-old made his way to the changing rooms, he was accosted by Sovre, who asked him to put his John Doe on a note pad at the ready. A referee’s assistant should not be asking a player for autographs after a match in the tunnel as happened with Haaland.UEFA won’t want to see this surely pic.twitter.com/nA94n3k27W— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) April 6, 2021But the stunt did not impress onlookers, with the punditry crew at BT Sport especially critical. “You can be a fan, but you can’t do that in front of the other players, it just doesn’t look right,” said former Manchester United and Bayern Munich star Owen Hargreaves.Ex-City defender Joleon Lescott agreed, remarking: “There’s never a right time for that, it just doesn’t bode well for the officials.