UEFA abolishes away goals rule in European competition

UEFA has announced the scrapping of away goals from all European club competitions with immediate effect after they voted to take the decision.

The rule, which was introduced in 1965, has since been used to determine the winner of a two-legged knockout tie where teams had scored the same number of goals on aggregate over the two matches. Now in matches where two teams score the same number of goals over two legs, games will go straight to extra time and then penalties, if they are required.

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UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin 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.

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‘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.’

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