UEFA Have Scrapped The Away Goals Rule From The 2021/22 Season

The European footballing body informed of a significant change to their club competitions for the 2021/22 season. In the case of a draw, the match will go to extra-time, regardless of who has scored more goals away from home.

This Thursday UEFA announced a drastic change that will take place in its competitions. From the 2021/22 season, the knockout rounds that end as a draw on aggregate will go straight to extra time, with no importance awarded to goals that teams have scored away from home.

Until now, in the case of a drawn aggregate score, the victory would be awarded to the team that scored more away goals, with them progressing to the next round of the competition. It would only go to extra time if both teams were level in this aspect as well.

From 2021/22, if both sides finish level at the end of the second leg, there will be two fifteen-minute halves of extra time to try and find a winner. If they are still level after this period, the match will be decided by a penalty shootout.

Regarding the importance of away goals, UEFA informed that they are were also no longer a valid criteria to decide the winner between two teams in the group stages. The criteria won’t disappear completely, however, and may be used should a particular situation emerge in the group stage, but it will no longer be the dominant decider.

The footballing body revealed statistics that led to this surprising decision and reiterated how, since the 1970s until now, teams have started to even themselves out in terms of their results. In their statement, they highlighted that home/away wins have gone from 61%/19% to 47%30% currently.

“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”, UEFA president Ceferin explained.

“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”, he continued

“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,” he concluded.

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