Shay Given has our sympathy but FIFA and UEFA need to offer more

The failure of the officials to spot Thierry Henry’s handball has condemned Shay Given and his teammates to miss out on the World Cup Finals in South Africa. Will this high profile case finally provoke FIFA and UEFA into using video replays? We probably shouldn’t hold our breath.

While the tidal wave of blame has engulfed Thierry Henry and the match officials, shouldn’t it also be falling on the game’s governors for their failure to embrace technology years ago. Rugby did it with video replays of tries. Cricket did it with Hawkeye. Why can’t football let match officials have access to the same technology as a SKY pundit?

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Why did Mark Hughes fly to Barcelona on Saturday?

One of the more curious items of news this weekend was that Mark Hughes flew to Spain to watch Barcelona play Osasuna on Saturday evening – the night before City played Birmingham. Needless to say, speculation about his intentions has varied wildly.

Initially there was the inevitable talk of the trip being related to a transfer for Robinho, but this would make little sense. Any discussion of such a transfer could be done by executives of the clubs and would hardly require Hughes to make a personal trip to Spain the night before a match. The reason is far more likely to be a scouting mission of possible transfer targets.

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