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UEFA scrap away goals rule from 2021-22 season

Source: ANI
June 24, 2021 22:01 IST
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Keylor Navas of Paris Saint-Germain fails to stop the second gaol scored by Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match at Etihad Stadium on May 04, 2021 in Manchester, England (Image used for representative purposes).

IMAGE: Keylor Navas of Paris Saint-Germain fails to stop the second gaol scored by Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match at Etihad Stadium on May 04, 2021 in Manchester, England (Image used for representative purposes). Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on Thursday confirmed that the away goals rule will be removed from all UEFA club tournaments (men, women, and youth) as of the qualifying phases of the 2021/22 competitions.

 

According to UEFA, the away goals rule was applied to determine the winner of a two-legged knockout tie in cases where the two teams had scored the same number of goals on aggregate over the two matches. In such cases, the team which had scored the higher number of goals away from home was considered the winner of the tie and qualified for the next round of the competition.

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 kicks from the penalty mark if no goal was scored.

"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.," said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin in a statement.

"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," he added.

With the decision to remove this rule, ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs would be not decided on the number of goals scored away, but two 15-minute periods of extra time are 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, kicks from the penalty mark would determine the team which qualifies to the next stage of the competition.

"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," said Ceferin.

According to UEFA, since away goals would no longer be given additional weight to decide a tie, they would also be removed from the criteria used to determine the rankings when two or more teams are equal on points in the group stage i.e. the criteria applied to matches played by the teams in question.

They would not be removed from the additional criteria applied to all group matches if the teams remain equal (higher number of away goals scored in all group matches), in order to retain a maximum number of sporting criteria.

"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," the UEFA President concluded.

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Source: ANI

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