UEFA has announced the away goals rule will no longer be used in any of the organisation’s club competitions for the 2021-22 season.
The regulation was first introduced in 1965 to decide the outcome of a two-legged knockout tie in cases where the teams were level on aggregate.
However, statistical data has shown a reduction in the gap between home and away wins, according to data released by the governing body on Wednesday, as well as the average number of goals scored at home and on the road.
Following the recommendation of both its club competitions committee and women’s football committee, UEFA has abolished the ruling for the upcoming campaign, with the change made ahead of the start of the qualifying phases.
“The away goals rule has been an intrinsic part of UEFA competitions since it was introduced in 1965,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.
“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.”
Analysing data stretching back to the mid-1970s, UEFA revealed how the success rate for teams at home in men’s competitions had dropped from 61 to 47 per cent, while away wins had risen from just 19 per cent up to 30 per cent.
“It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was,” Ceferin said.
“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.”
The decision means away goals will no longer be a factor to consider in the Champions League, Europa League and the new Europa Conference League, as well as the Women’s Champions League.
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