UEFA scrap away goals rule in all club competitions from next season

The away goals rule will be removed from all UEFA club competitions from the 2021/22 season.

It's been used since 1965 but the away goals rule is no more from next season. (Image Credit: Twitter)

The UEFA Executive Committee has approved a proposal to remove the away goals rule from all UEFA club competitions (men, women and youth) as of the qualifying phases of the 2021/22 competitions. This decision has been taken following the recommendation of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee. The away goals rule was utilised to determine the winner of a two-legged knockout tie, in case of a scenario where both teams had scored the same number of goals on aggregate over the two matches.

The team that had scored the higher number of goals away from home was considered the winner of the tie. If the two teams had scored the same number of goals at home and away at the end of normal playing time in the second leg, extra time was played, followed by penalties.

“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,” said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.

“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,” he added.

Away goals removed from criteria used to determine rankings

Following this decision, games in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs would be not decided by the number of goals scored away. Two 15-minute periods of extra time will be played at the end of the second leg and in case the teams score the same number of goals or no goals during this extra time, penalty kicks would determine the qualification process.

Away goals will also be removed from the criteria used to determine the rankings, when two or more teams are equal on points in the group stage. They would not be removed from the additional criteria applied to all group matches if the teams remain equal. It will be interesting to note the reaction of fans and the masses to this decision by the UEFA, considering the legendary matches that have been decided on the basis of away goals.

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