The Romanian assistant referee Octavian Sovre’s decision to ask Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland to autograph his yellow and red cards raised eyebrows but the charity set to benefit is 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, said.
Zlibut said the cards would likely be auctioned this month on Facebook to aid therapy of 30 autistic people aged below 47 at the centre in the western city of Oradea, on the border with Hungary.
Zlibut, whose 21-year-old daughter Laura Bianca is autistic, said the centre depended on donations. “The state gives me for my daughter 500 lei (£88) per month. One cannot imagine what I can 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.”
Sovre got Haaland to sign the cards on Tuesday at the end of the Champions League quarter-final first leg between Dortmund and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The former Romania internationals Gheorghe Hagi and Helmuth Duckadam, the goalkeeper in the Steaua Bucharest team that won the European Cup in 1986, had helped the centre in the past, Zlibut said.
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