By Vincenzo Pugliese
TheNYExtra.com ,The New York Extra
Starting in the 2021-22 European football season, the away goal rule will be removed for all UEFA men’s and women’s club competitions.
The rule has been abolished since being implemented in 1965. It was utilized to determine a winner when two teams would find themselves tied on aggregate following a two-legged match. The team with more away goals was awarded progression.
Under new rules, direct extra-time and a potential penalty shoot-out will determine the outcome of each two-legged draw.
“Following the recommendation of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee, the UEFA Executive Committee has today approved a proposal to remove the so-called away goals rule from all UEFA club competitions (men, women and youth) as of the qualifying phases of the 2021/22 competitions.” UEFA said in a statement.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said that after years of discussion with coaches, fans and other stakeholders in the game concluding the rule to be unfair.
But the away goal rule is indeed fair. The home advantage for teams didn’t just magically disappear. The truth of the matter is that it is indeed harder to go away to an opposing team’s stadium and score than it is at home.
Surely the real motive behind this new rule in place is about financial gain. With overtime and penalties now being the new decider for a leveled aggregate score, fans will spend more time watching the match which ultimately raises UEFA’s income on TV viewership.
With that being said, it does make the game a bit more exciting. The feeling of watching extra time and the nerve racking sentiment of penalties does add a bit more thrill to the game. True sports fans would ultimately agree that a real winner should be considered to be victorious by scoring more than their opponent and not by who has scored more away goals.
The effects of this new arrangement now changes how home teams approach their two legged draws, especially in the first leg. Tactically clubs would approach their home fixtures more defensively to avoid conceding any goals to the away opposition.