Monday, March 4News That Matters

UEFA abolishes away goals rule starting from 2021-2022 season

The away goals rule has been scrapped for all UEFA club competitions from next campaign, it has been confirmed.

The away goals rule, initially used back in 1965, was brought in to determine a winner in two-legged knockout ties where the two clubs had scored the same goals on aggregate over the two games. The winner, in such a scenario, was the side who scored more goals in the away leg.

But the rule has come in for huge criticism in recent years with home advantage no longer as strong as before and many believing the rule to be unfair on those clubs playing second in a two-legged tie.

Now extra-time and – should it be needed – penalties will decide such matches.

On the announcement, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “The away goals rule has been an intrinsic part of Uefa competitions since it was introduced in 1965. However, the question of its abolition has been debated at various Uefa meetings over the last few years. Although there was no unanimity of views, many coaches, fans and other football stakeholders have questioned its fairness and have expressed a preference for the rule to be abolished.

“The impact of the rule now runs counter to its original purpose as, in fact,  it now dissuades home teams – especially in first legs – from attacking, because they fear conceding a goal that would give their opponents a crucial advantage. There is also criticism of the unfairness, especially in extra time, of obliging the home team to score twice when the away team has scored.

“It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was. Taking into consideration the consistency across Europe in terms of styles of play, and many different factors which have led to a decline in home advantage, the Uefa Executive Committee has taken the correct decision in adopting the view that it is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home.”

PSG’s away-goals win over Bayern in last season’s quarter-finals will go down in history as the last in the UEFA Champions League before the change.

The rule has led to some dramatic moments in recent years, including Tottenham’s stoppage-time success over Ajax in the 2019 Champions League semi-finals.

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