Home SPORTS GIST BREAKING: UEFA ANNOUNCES ABOLITION OF THE AWAY GOALS RULE FOR CLUB COMPETITIONS

BREAKING: UEFA ANNOUNCES ABOLITION OF THE AWAY GOALS RULE FOR CLUB COMPETITIONS

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Oduola Farouq A.

UEFA on Thursday announced that the away goals rule will be scrapped in European tournament knockout matches starting in the 2021-22 season.

The rule, which had been in effect since 1965, was used to determine the winner of a two-legged knockout game in which both sides had scored the same number of goals on aggregate in both matches and the team that scored more goals as the away team won. However, from now on, additional time and penalties will be used instead.

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According to a UEFA statement, “The UEFA Executive Committee has today approved a proposal to remove the so-called away goals rule from all UEFA club competitions (men, women, and youth) as of the qualifying phases of the 2021/22 competitions, following the recommendation of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee.”

Commenting on the abolishment of the away goals rule, 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.”

Last season, Lyon, who had won the previous five editions of the women’s Champions League, were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Paris Saint-Germain on away goals.

FC Porto and PSG have advanced to the last eight and semifinals of the men’s Champions League, respectively, after eliminating Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Tottenham Hotspur advanced to the 2019 final after scoring away goals against Manchester City and Ajax before losing to Liverpool in the final.

Ceferin explained that the rule modification was not unanimous, but was adopted after the regulation’s “fairness” was questioned. Following the recommendations of its Club Competitions Committee and the Women’s Football Committee, UEFA’s Executive Committee decided to abolish the away goals rule.

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