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UEFA Scraps Away Goals Rule After 56 Years

Away Goals Rule

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Union of the European Football Association (UEFA) has scrapped the away goals rule for their Champions League and Europa League competitions 56 years after it was first introduced.

The European football organising body made the announcement on Thursday and it said the decision will apply to the men’s, women’s and youth tournaments.

The away goal rule has been an integral part of European football and could swing a tie if a team managed to bag a goal at their opponent’s ground.

Introduced in 1965, the rule was used 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

UEFA President, Mr Aleksander Ceferin, explained that after consultation with clubs, it had been decided the rule was unfair.

“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,” he added.

“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,” he continued.

“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.”

It is, however, unclear at this stage if the rule change will be applied to international competitions.

For example, World Cup qualification ties have used the away goals rule, while it has also been applied in the AFC Champions League, the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.