UEFA have officially announced that the away goals rule will be scrapped from all club competitions from the start of the 2021-22 season.
A statement on their official website has confirmed that European football’s governing body have listened to the proposal from the Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee and have today approved a proposal to remove the away goals rule from all UEFA club competitions (men, women and youth) from the qualifying phases of the 2021-22 competitions.
The away goals rule would be applied when two teams had scored the same number of goals on aggregate over the two matches, in which case the team with the higher number of goals away from home was considered the winner of the tie and qualified for the next round.
Now, two 15-minute periods of extra time will be played at the end of the second leg instead, and a penalty shootout will determine the team which qualifies for the next stage of the competition in the event it is still tied.
The statement adds: “Statistics from the mid-1970s until now show a clear trend of continuous reduction in the gap between the number of home/away wins (from 61%/19% to 47%/30%) 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, whereas since 2009/10, the average goals per game have remained very steady in the UEFA Women’s Champions League with the overall average of 1.92 for home teams and 1.6 for away teams.”
Commenting on the abolishment of the away goals rule, UEFA President Aleksander 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. 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.”