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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: European coaches ask UEFA to review away goals rule

Football Briefs: European coaches ask UEFA to review away goals rule

September 05, 2018 17:11 IST

 News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

UEFA Champions League

IMAGE: The UEFA logo outside its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Files/Reuters

Europe's top club coaches have asked UEFA to review the use of the away goals rule in continental competitions because scoring away from home is not as difficult as it used to be.

They also want the transfer window to end at the same time in all the region’s major leagues.

 

UEFA's deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti confirmed that the European soccer body would "open a discussion" on the use of the away goals rule which is used to determine the winners of knockout ties when the aggregate score is level.

The annual meeting included Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus), Carlos Ancelotti (Napoli), Unai Emery (Arsenal), Paulo Fonseca (Shakhtar Donetsk), Julen Lopetegui (Real Madrid) Jose Mourinho (Manchester United), Thomas Tuchel (Paris St Germain) and former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"The coaches think that scoring goals away is not as difficult as it was in the past... so they think the rule should be reviewed and that's what we will do," Marchetti told reporters.

"They consider the situation in football has changed and the weight of the away goals is not the same as many years ago when the rule was introduced."

The rule was first introduced in the former European Cup Winners' Cup competition in 1965 as an alternative to tossing a coin or staging a replay on a neutral ground.

At the time, playing away in Europe was a huge challenge which involved difficult travel and intimidating, unfamiliar conditions abroad, a far cry from today where it is considered routine.

Marchetti said the coaches felt the rule was also counter-productive and that, as much as encouraging away teams to attack, it induced home teams to defend to avoid conceding a costly goal.

"This is one of the points that needs to be looked at," he said.

On the transfer window, he said the coaches wanted more countries to follow the example of England and Italy and close them before the start of the season.

The transfer windows in England and Italy were changed this year in response to complaints last year that they had overshadowed the action on the pitch and made it difficult for coaches to plan.

However, in Spain, Germany and France, they continued until the end of August as before.

"The coaches are of an opinion that there should be a unified window and the window should close before the competition starts," said Marchetti. "The idea would be to try and bring them into line."

VAR disrupts flow of game, says Barca's Suarez

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has criticised the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR) in Spain this season, saying it disrupted the natural flow of games and that he would prefer to see the use of goal-line technology instead.

Suarez scored a goal in Barca's 8-2 win over Huesca on Sunday which was initially ruled out for offside but later awarded after the referee consulted VAR, leaving the Uruguayan unconvinced by the system.

"VAR stifles celebrations," Suarez said in an interview with radio station RAC1 broadcast on Wednesday.

"Defenders are now asking for something the whole time. I would prefer to just have goal-line technology. With VAR, the game can lose naturalness," he added.

"Perhaps a play starts with an involuntary handball, you counter-attack and score, then they review the play and rule it out."

Spain has joined top-flight leagues in Italy and Germany in implementing VAR after having no form of technology last season, when Suarez was denied a goal against Valencia despite television showing the ball had clearly crossed the line.

The English Premier League has used goal-line technology since 2013 but is yet to introduce VAR, which was widely hailed as a success when used at the 2018 World Cup.

Suarez, 31, scored for the first time in five games in all competitions in Sunday's win over Huesca and admitted he needs to manage his minutes on the pitch better in order to get the best out of himself.

Above all, he regrets playing in a La Liga game against Leganes last season three days before the Champions League quarter-final second leg at AS Roma, where Barca slumped to a 3-0 defeat to go out on away goals after winning 4-1 at home.

"Rotating is the coach's decision but I realise that I should rest in the more straightforward games in the league," said Suarez, who has won three La Liga titles and one Champions League since joining Barca from Liverpool in 2014.

"It happened to me last season against Leganes, just before the game against Roma. You want to play every game but I'm aware that I need to regulate my minutes to be sharp in the biggest games.

"You have to get into the rhythm of the games but when you are tired you need to rest."

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