UEFA Abolishes Away Goals Rule in All Club Competitions

UEFA President

UEFA has confirmed that the away goals rule will be scrapped from all club competitions from the start of the 2021/22 season.

This followed a recommendation of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee on Thursday.

The away goals rule which has been in place since 1965 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.

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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.

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Commenting on the abolishment of the away goals rule, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin 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.”

Mr Čeferin added: “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.

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“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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