UEFA have finally taken the monumental decision to scrap the away goals rule from all club competitions starting next season.
This change has been in the pipeline for some time and the UEFA president has now confirmed that from the start of the 2021-22 season there will no away goals rule.
The official statement read: “Following the recommendation of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee, the UEFA Executive Committee has today approved a proposal to remove the so-called away goals rule from all UEFA club competitions (men, women and youth) as of the qualifying phases of the 2021/22 competitions.
“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.”
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin revealed the decision was not unanimous but the rule had to be changed since its fairness has been cast in doubt.
“The away goals rule has been an intrinsic part of UEFA competitions since it was introduced in 1965,” Ceferin said, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“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.
BREAKING: The away goals rule will be removed from all UEFA club competitions from the 2021-22 season. pic.twitter.com/EpnTju3W3S
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 24, 2021
“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.”
Away goals has been at the forefront of many historic matches in the Champions League as well as the Europa League but fans and experts have started to question its importance and application in the modern game.
A large section of the football fraternity feels home teams are always thinking of keeping a clean sheet rather than playing positive football and this leads to a very cagey affair.
Another big reason why some fans will be happy with this change from UEFA is that the away goals halt the manager from using their best tactics on the pitch. Instead, the bosses are always thinking of how he should stop the opponents from scoring rather than urging his own side to take the initiative.
Obviously, not everyone will be happy with the scrapping of the away goals but we don’t see why a rule introduced in 1965 shouldn’t be done away with.