UEFA have scrapped the away goals rule in all club competitions from the 2021/22 season onwards. Following recommendations from the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee, the UEFA Executive Committee has approved a proposal to remove ‘away goals’ as of next season’s qualifying phases.
For years, UEFA competitions, including the Champions League and Europa League, have used away goals to determine the winner of two-legged ties.
If two teams had scored the same number of goals over both legs, the side that tallied more goals away from home would be declared the winner.
If both teams were level on aggregate and scored the same number of away goals, extra-time and penalties would decide the tie.
Now, in the case of a draw on aggregate after both legs, UEFA club competition matches will head straight to extra-time and penalties, regardless of how many away goals have been scored.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has released a statement following the abolishment of the away goal rule in UEFA club competitions.
He 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.
UEFA has outlined some of the statistics they’ve used to approve abolishing the ‘away goal’ rule.
Since the mid-1970s, there has been an apparent reduction in the gap between the number of home and away wins in UEFA competitions.
From 61 per cent/19 per cent, it is now 40 per cent/30 per cent in favour of home teams, which seems to be enough to warrant removing such a significant advantage for away teams.
The average number of goals per match has also evened out over the years, from 2.02/0.95 to 1.58/1.15 in men’s competitions.
It’s a big change that will almost certainly welcome plenty of discussion in the near future.
Published at Thu, 24 Jun 2021 13:30:00 +0000