The UEFA made headlines this past week as they announced that the away goals rule will be permanently removed in European tournament knockout ties from the 2021-22 season.
If you are unaware of the rule, let me do my very best in explaining it. The rule had been used in determining a winner when the two teams were on the same level of aggregate after a two-legged match. It worked so that if you scored more goals as the away team, then your team was awarded the victory of the two matches and moved onto the next round. Now, the UEFA has adapted other professional sports styles and will replace the old-fashioned way of doing things with extra time and, if needed, penalty shots.
It’s clear that the UEFA had been disputing the rule change for an extended period of time before ultimately deciding to put it into place. Alerting the world of the new rule, the UEFA released a statement saying:
“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 as of the qualifying phases of the 2021/22 competitions.”
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin shared his thoughts on the removal of the rule, saying:
“The away goal 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.”
Significance of New Rule
Clubs no longer need to worry about how many goals they put up in a game or how many goals they allow to their opponent. Now, European soccer has made the adjustment in extending the time of play into overtime and eventually shootout kicks. It’s about time the league made the change.
No other sport worldwide does it matter what the differential in goals was. This is the way it should have been a long time ago.
In simple terms, one game’s result should not have any impact on the outcome of the entire series. It’s good to see the UEFA finally coming to their senses and abolishing a rule that’s been a part of the game for a long time. Having been previously knocked out of the Champions League on two separate occasions via the rule, Manchester City celebrates the newest rule adjustment more than anyone else reasonably so.