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11th Jul 2024

Shay Given says Thierry Henry handball is reason VAR was brought in

Simon Kelly

Where’s that replay, then?

Shay Given has said that Thierry Henry’s handball against Ireland is the reason why VAR was brought into the game.

The former Ireland number one was as close as you could be to the infamous incident when he saw Henry handle the ball from going out of play before crossing it to William Gallas to score and crush the nation’s World Cup hopes.

The former goalkeeper says that the 2009 incident in Saint-Denis was the spark that lit the fuse of VAR.

“I think one of the reasons VAR was brought in, is actually because of the Thierry Henry handball back in ’09,” he told Darren Conway and Alan Cantwell, as part the Carpool Commentary series with BYD Auto Ireland.

“I think that was such an injustice to Ireland because of that and obviously if VAR sees that – straight away it’s a free kick to Ireland and we’ve got a chance to go to the World Cup.

“There was uproar – you think when you’re playing for Ireland, it was just in Ireland because everyone obviously wants us to go there.

“But actually it was all around the world, people were like ‘It should be a replay.’

“But yeah, I think that was one of the main reasons, after that, it sped up.”

Shay Given says Thierry Henry handball is reason VAR was brought in

Given also spoke about his meetings with the French striker after the infamous incident back in 2009.

“I’ve seen him a couple of times,” he said, joking that the handball was a “big elephant floating around the room”.

“To be fair to him,” he continued, “I mean, it was a handball he admits it, blah, blah, blah, but it was that blatant, it was like a double handball it hit his forearm and he pulled it in with his hand.

“I was like Usain Bolt after the referee when I looked at him and he was pointing to the middle of the pitch, like, ‘Is he having a laugh here or what?’

“I’ve never seen myself sprint so fast in all my life.”

Speaking on VAR in Euro 2024, Given says the technology has “worked really well” at most of the games.

“I’m not sure what the status of the percentage is but 60 or 70 per cent decisions they’ve got right now more than before.”

UEFA have brought in new VAR technology for Euro 2024, which uses the likes of new handball technology in match balls and semi-automated offsides to make decisions clearer and faster for referees to decipher.

Check out the full conversation below with Shay Given, Darren Conway and Alan Cantwell, as part the Carpool Commentary series with BYD Auto Ireland.

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