European soccer body UEFA has told match officials not to seek autographs from players after an assistant referee asked Borussia Dormund star Erling Haaland to sign red and yellow cards.
Octavian Sovre raised a few eyebrows when he approached Haaland in the tunnel on Tuesday night after the Champions League quarter-final game between Dortmund and Manchester City.
It was later reported in his native Romania that Sovre, the referee's assistant at City, wanted the cards signed to raise funds for an autism centre and that he regularly does so after matches.
UEFA's chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti wrote to refereeing teams after the incident, which was caught on camera, saying it was unacceptable and undignified.
"UEFA has strived to get you respected as much as the players and you have helped with that by looking the part: athletic, commanding, respectful and professional," Rosetti wrote Wednesday in correspondence first reported by British broadcaster Sky Sports and verified by UEFA.
"If you want to be respected as much as the players, why would you ask for their autograph or their shirt? Do they ask you for the same?
"This is simply unacceptable, this is a matter of dignity and don't forget about the number of TV cameras at UEFA matches - they catch everything."
Australian Associated Press