UEFA scraps away goals rule from all club competitions

UEFA has established a major change for next season’s Champions League and Europa League.

UEFA announced that the away goals rule will be removed from all UEFA club competitions from the 2021/22 season.

The law previously provided a notable advantage to teams who hit the back of the net on the road but was criticized by many fans.

On Thursday, UEFA announced the rule had been discarded after long discussions and negotiations over its role in the modern game. In April, reports revealed that plans were initially circulating to only count away goals scored inside 90 minutes and not extra time. But European football’s governing body will now proceed with plans to completely scrap the rule.

With the decision to remove this rule, ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs would be not decided on the number of goals scored away, but two 15-minute periods of extra time are played at the end of the second leg and in case the teams score the same number of goals or no goals during this extra time, kicks from the penalty mark would determine the team which qualifies to the next stage of the competition.

UEFA’s data showed how the disadvantage of playing away from home has decreased in recent decades. 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% 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.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin commenting on the abolishment of the away goals rule 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.”

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