The United Europe Football Association (UEFA), Europe’s football governing body, has stated that the away goal rule will be abolished in all of its competitions beginning in the 2021-22 season.
Following a recommendation from the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee, the UEFA Executive Committee approved the decision to eliminate the away goal rule from the qualifying stages of the 2021-22 competitions.
The removal of the away goal rule, which has been in place since 1965, is a significant step forward, with UEFA President Aleksandr Ceferin noting that the rule no longer serves its original purpose.
Speaking on the abolishment, 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.”
Mr Čeferin added: “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,“ the UEFA President concluded. “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.”
Teams that are tied after two legs with the same amount of goals will now have to play two 15-minute periods of extra time and a penalty shootout if they are still level, according to UEFA.