UEFA votes to SCRAP away goals entirely from European competitions

UEFA announce they will ABOLISH the away goals rule in European competition IMMEDIATELY, because ‘home teams don’t attack’… but switch risks infuriating fans and club managers

  • UEFA has voted to scrap away goals from all European club competitions
  • The huge change has been implemented by UEFA with immediate effect
  • Rule has been used to find a winner in two-legged ties where the score is level
  • Now matches will go straight to extra time and penalties, if they are required
  • READ: Here are 10 of the most dramatic away goals in European football history

UEFA has voted to scrap away goals from all European club competitions with immediate effect.

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.

UEFA has voted to scrap away goals from all European club competitions from next season

European ties level on aggregate after two legs will now just go straight to extra-time

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.

‘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.

‘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.’ 

Statistics since mid-’70s showed how the gap between home and away wins had reduced

Managers are likely to be furious with the change because matches are now more likely to require extra-time and penalties, giving their players more minutes to contend with. 

UEFA cited statistics since the mid-1970s which showed how the gap between home and away wins had reduced.

It talked about better pitch quality, standardised pitch sizes, and even VAR as factors in the decline of home advantage.

UEFA said away goals would also no longer be a separating criteria when looking at matches between two or more sides level on points in the group stage.

However, the number of away goals scored in all group matches could be used from the additional separating criteria available if teams remain equal.

There have been some memorable away goals scored during the history of European football, none more so though than Marcus Rashford’s penalty away at PSG for Manchester United in 2019.

Having lost the first leg 2-0 in Manchester, United were left with a mountain to climb but quickly set to work with Romelu Lukaku scoring after two minutes.

Andres Iniesta’s strike at Stamford Bridge for Barcelona is still one of the best away goals ever

Marcus Rashford converted a late penalty to help Manchester United triumph at PSG in 2019

Tottenham reached the final in 2019 when Lucas Moura netted his third goal in the win at Ajax

Juan Bernat smuggled in the equaliser at the back post, but Lukaku handed United hope once again after pouncing on Gianluigi Buffon’s poor handling.

Then, with PSG looking set to squeeze United out, Diogo Dalot’s strike hit the arm of Presnel Kimpembe – and Marcus Rashford stepped up to net an ice-cool penalty.

Lucas Moura scored another iconic one for Tottenham against Ajax that put the north London side into the 2019 Champions League final.

Moura found himself on a hat-trick after two poacher finishes, and duly wrapped it up with a left-footed drive deep inside stoppage time that sent Tottenham through on away goals.

Let’s not forget Fernando Llorente’s effort for Tottenham against Manchester City in the same Champions League campaign. 

It looked as though City had beaten Tottenham and got through to the semi-finals at the death, but Raheem Sterling’s goal was ruled out for offside.

That left Spurs as the victors, with Fernando Llorente having bundled home from a corner for an effort given by VAR just under 20 minutes from time. 

Andres Iniesta also notched an iconic away goal for Barcelona against Chelsea back in 2009. After a 0-0 draw in the first leg at the Nou Camp, Michael Essien fired Chelsea ahead at Stamford Bridge.  

A string of controversial decisions from Tom Henning Ovrebo, who would go on to receive death threats, saw him wave away four penalty appeals before Iniesta’s late strike sent Barcelona through. 

Football fans are divided over the rule change, with many thinking it takes some of the jeopardy away from big European ties.  

@jacobotweets posted: ‘Years of history down the drain. How could they actually do this?’ 

Another user tweeted: ‘Bad decision. It takes away the thrill of the game in the knockout stages. I would have preferred it being scrapped after 90 minutes in the second leg.’ 

@JoCo_CFC agreed, posting: ‘The amount of 0-0 games and penalty shootouts that we’re gonna see now.. they just killed the dramatic finishes to these games.’ 

But some other supporters were in favour of the rule change, insisting it was a ‘dumb rule to begin with’.

@DavidSalituro wrote: ‘It was a dumb rule to begin with. The worst part is when a team scored an away goal in extra time in the second leg and advanced, even though they had 30 more minutes than the other team. How was that fair?’

@JJaySeven agreed, commenting: ‘Finally, was about time. Away goals rule just makes things boring’.  

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