As any genuine football fan will tell you, the VAR system (video assistant referee) is rubbish. A shambles. Offside and handball rulings have become a lottery. While the F.A. promised it would mean 'minimal interference, maximum benefit', the naked truth is the complete opposite. Outrageous decisions by a referee or linesman belong to the game as much as the pitch. Such misjudgements, seen as wicked and heinous by fans of the team mutilated by such verdicts, yet applauded and celebrated by fans of the team gaining advantage, are bread and butter of discussions up until the next game. Football is not a video pastime, but no-one does anything about it. So, pathetically, we all play along. However, at many clubs things are getting out of hand.
Coaches and managers are now training players to lean backwards when running forwards to deceive the camera. Too often has a knee, an elbow, a hip, a big toe, a nipple or anything else hanging around the front of the player been cited as an appendage of transgression by people seated in a cellar hundreds of miles from the game, and another chance is thwarted. Leaning backwards when running forwards may be the way to overcome this nonsense. Some clubs are going further. Extremeties of potential infringement are to be cut off, shortened, sanded or simply polished with emery paper.
"Sure, it's painful," said the manager of a top-flight club which plays at Goodison Park, though did not wish to be named, "but the F.A. are forcing us to resort to these gruesome measures. And it makes it hard for some. For example, we're not signing anyone with a long nose anymore, or with big feet, let's say anything over size 8. No point. They get caught out every time. Best signing would be a dwarf with no arms, no nose, and knees and feet on the wrong way around."
Meanwhile, the iniquity continues...