UEFA, football governing body said on Thursday that it has approved a proposal to remove the away goals rule from all its club competitions involving men’s, women’s and youth teams, starting from the qualifying phase of the 2021-22 campaign.
The away goals rule, introduced by UEFA in 1965–66, was implemented when the two-legged tie was globally equal after 180 minutes, with the team scoring the most goals from home declared the winner.
But it came under control last year, with some matches taking place at neutral venues without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, two overtime periods of 15 minutes each will be played at the end of the second leg, followed by a penalty kick if the teams are still tied.
Explaining the decision, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said: “The effect of the rule is now contrary to its original purpose, as it actually discourages hosts – especially in the early stages – from attacking, as they afraid of knocking out a target that gives their opponents a significant advantage.”
“Injustice is also criticized, especially during overtime, for forcing the home team to score twice when the away team has scored. It’s fair to say that the benefits at home are not as important today as it used to be,” Ceferin said.
The decision to drop the away goal rule was taken by the UEFA Executive Committee on the recommendation of the Club Competition Committee and the Women’s Football Committee. UEFA stated that since away goals would no longer carry any additional weight in deciding a tie, they were also removed from the criteria used to determine the standings when two or more teams had an equal number of points in the group stage.