A new controversial gesture of a Romanian assistant referee sparks a vivid discussion in the international press and on the social media networks and forums. The coincidence, if this could be labeled as a coincidence, is that the gesture comes from one of the referees who are monitored by UEFA after the so-called racist scandal after PSG-Istanbul Başakşehir.
The facts are the following and we let any football fan judge for himself what happened to decide if the behavior was proper or not: immediately after the match between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, played on Tuesday on Etihad stadium in Manchester, a game won by the home team with 2-1, the Romanian referee Octavian Sovre went to the players tunnel, stopped Haaland and asked him for an autograph.
Apart from the fact that Haaland was not in a good mood, as his team lost the game after some controversial decisions of the Romanian ref Sebastian Coltescu, apart from the joy you can read on the Romanian assistant ref’s face, one question should be asked: is it proper for a referee to ask for an autograph from a player in the front of all the other players, coaches and, especially, in front of the cameras?
The international mass-media labeled the gesture from childish to outrageous, as Yahoo Sports wrote. Also, the football fans started to blame the Romanian for this, though it is clear that the autograph might have been asked for a child who’s a Haaland fan.
As for us, we don’t blame the gesture itself, as Haaland is one of the Champions League stars after all, but we consider that you shouldn’t don’t do it in front of all the other players and in front of the cameras when you have just assisted from the line. Also, we would’ve expected a more adequate behavior from a referee which was placed under monitoring by UEFA after another controversial moment during an international game.
This childish or outrageous gesture, combined with the controversial decisions taken during the game by the whole brigade could jeopardize the international career of the Romanian referee. Was it worth it?
UEFA is expected to offer a public position on this incident and to decide whether or not to take a measure against the linesman.
Update: according to local media, the Romanian linesman use this sort of autographs for charity, such as donates them for causes like kids with cancer or kids with autism.