Neil Humphreys: Fix the VAR insanity now
Confusing delays may cause a farce in English Premier League matches next season
The Terminator movies are essentially one storyline repeated over and over again.
Weary warriors must stop mankind from being dominated by machines.
It's essentially the plot involving footballers and Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in next season's English Premier League.
Man expects to prevail. Common sense expects to prevail.
But nothing is certain, following the farce played out between Portugal, Switzerland and VAR officials who shouldn't be trusted with a remote control, let alone a football match.
The VAR controversy in yesterday morning's (Singapore time) Nations League semi-final must have triggered rumblings of discontent along the EPL's corridors of power.
To recap the tragicomedy, referee Felix Brych awarded a Portugal penalty after Fabian Schar upended Bernardo Silva. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to take the spot-kick.
So far, so straightforward.
But VAR officials instructed the referee to check the replays, which he did, before reaching his conclusion: There should be a penalty - for Switzerland.
Brych awarded a spot-kick at the other end of the pitch, for an earlier incident, where Nelson Semedo challenged Steven Zuber (the contact was negligible, but this insane story needs no further sub-plots).
So Ronaldo handed the ball to Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, who trotted down the other end and scored from 12 yards.
The VAR circus offered a glimpse of the EPL next season, when the technology is introduced, and it was equal parts titillating and infuriating, rather like a crass reality TV show.
An audience will edge forward whenever a referee consults those screens in a way we might gawp at a car crash, but that doesn't necessarily make it right.
The game should be about talent, mixed with a healthy dollop of human frailty and unforced error, like all sport in essence, with technology on hand to support the decision-making process, rather than take it over.
But the penalty reversal felt like an out-take from a Terminator movie, the one where bureaucrats in matching uniforms are enthralled by the machines.
Brych seemed positively entranced by the screen before him, eager to go back in time to correct previous misdemeanours as if he were flying a DeLorean.
But how far should he have gone? How far back can any official go when reviewing footage?
Pedantic types, quoting the rule book, have argued that the referee was within his rights to penalise Portugal for an earlier foul, even if they had dashed off down the other end and earned themselves a penalty.
It's a solid bureaucratic theory, but how does it play out in practical reality, with footballers turning over possession quickly and pressing on the counter-attack?
If a referee misses a key incident, the officials must contact him and direct him towards a video replay.
Brych waited for a break in play - when he awarded the spot-kick to Portugal - but why wasn't he alerted sooner? Why didn't he stop play? When does a delay become too long?
Too many contentious football questions require answers from non-footballers, shifting the balance of power to the wrong people.
VAR's proponents have claimed that the technology hasn't deprived the game of drama, but added to it.
However, it can be a different kind of drama - artificial, time-consuming and meddlesome.
In effect, VAR has removed one kind of human error (the referee's absent eyes) and replaced it with another (the referee's absent logic, in the Portugal game at least).