UEFA have announced their decision to remove the away goals rule in all of its club competitions starting from the 2021/22 season.
The governing body confirmed that when ties are level over the two legs, two 15-minute periods of extra time, and if needed, a penalty shoot-out will follow. This will be the procedure in men’s, women’s and youth games.
In their announcement, UEFA highlighted statistics shown since the mid-1970s in men’s games where there has been a reduction in gap when comparing home to away wins (from 61%-19% to 47%-30%) as well as the average number of goals scored per match at home-away (from 2.02-0.95 to 1.58-1.15).
When speaking of this significant decision to scrap 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.”
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.”