VAR took centre stage this weekend after making its long awaited Premier League debut.
The controversial new technology was called into action to resolve several high-profile flashpoints, none more so than an incident involving Gary Neville’s upper lip.
The 44-year-old retired full-back has spent the better part of three decades trying in vain to grow a proper moustache. Neville’s facial hair struggles have been well documented with many commentators comparing his feeble lip foliage to that of a 14-year-old boy with a penchant for chocolate milk.
The anticipation of each new Premier League season amongst supporters is equalled only by their renewed optimism that Neville may finally have hit puberty.
Joyous football fans across the globe celebrated on Friday night, as Neville appeared pitch-side with Kelly Cates sporting what appeared to be a full, albeit pencil thin, moustache.
However, SkySports viewer’s celebrations were cut short when on screen graphics confirmed that a VAR review of the moustache was taking place.
After what seemed like an eternity, Kelly Cates relayed VAR’s decision to a worldwide audience on tenterhooks: ‘VAR’s decision is in’, she said while holding her ear-piece for dramatic effect. ‘I’m sorry Gaz, it’s been ruled ‘No Tash’.
As an inconsolable Neville trundled off the Anfield pitch, his colleagues debated the contentious decision back in the SkySports studios.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, believes his co-commentator has a long way to go before his piss-poor attempt at a moustache can be compared to the lip furniture of his 80s predecessors.
‘When you think about some of the nose-ticklers knocking around from when Graeme was still playing: your Frank Worthingtons; your Rudi Vollers; your John Warks – Gaz’s looks as though a 4-year-old’s drawn it on with a felt-tip pen’.
Fiery Scot Graeme Souness was equally as scathing about Neville’s lack of mouser. ‘If I’m sat in that dressing room today and Gary’s walked by stroking that pathetic thing under his nose, I’d have a thing or two to say, let me tell you’.
Explaining the decision, retired referee Dermot Gallagher said: ‘From a distance, you can see why the viewer might think Neville’s finally sprouted a proper Tash.
‘But a closer inspection in the replay clearly shows, it looks more like a caterpillar has curled up and died on his top lip. VAR will only overturn a clear and obvious error. This certainly fitted that criteria’.
The weekend’s VAR controversy didn’t stop there with several other high-profile incidents making the headlines.
During Manchester City’s 5-0 destruction of West Ham, VAR confirmed that Raheem Sterling does indeed run like the late Verne Troyer AKA ‘Mini-Me’ from the Austin Powers movies. And Harry Maguire was penalised for encroachment after VAR replays showed his head had entered Chelsea’s penalty area before Marcus Rashford struck his penalty.