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UEFA decides to abolish away goals rule in all club competitions

Photo: UEFA

Nyon (Switzerland), June 24 (MNN) UEFA on Thursday decided to do away with so-called ‘away goals’ rule from all its club competitions (men, women and youth) as of qualifying phases of the 2021/22 competitions.

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 decision to remove this rule follows recommendation by UEFA Club Competitions Committee and UEFA Women’s Football Committee.

With the removal of the rule, ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs would not be decided on the number of goals scored away, but two 15-minute periods of extra time played at the end of the second leg.

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.

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.

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.”

“It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was,“ the UEFA President said.

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