Wednesday. 17.04.2024

European football's ruling body UEFA has decided to remove the away goals rule from all its men's, women's and youth club competitions as of the qualifying phases for the 2021-22 season, it said on Thursday.

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 with more goals in the away game was considered the winner and advanced to the next round of the competition.

"Statistics since the mid-1970s show a clear trend of continuous reduction in the gap between the number of home-away wins (from 61-19 per cent to 47-30 per cent) and the average number of goals per match scored at home-away (from 2.02-0.95 to 1.58-1.15) in men's competitions," UEFA said.

With the decision to remove the away goals rule, ties with the same number of goals over the two legs will be decided with two 15-minute periods of extra time. If the result persists, then the game would be decided in a penalty shoot-out.

This was already the case 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.

Debated over last few years

"The question of its abolition has been debated at various UEFA meetings over the last few years," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said.

"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."

Ceferin added that the rule, introduced in 1965, was playing against its purpose as it discouraged home teams to attack "because they fear conceding a goal that would give their opponents a crucial advantage."

"It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was," Ceferin said.

Away goals will also be removed as a tiebreak criteria when two or more teams are equal on points in a group stage.

UEFA abolishes away goals rules in all its club competitions