Away goals rule abolished for UEFA club competitions from 2021-22 season
The away goals rule has been part of UEFA competitions since it was introduced in 1965; UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said the decision to abolish away goals was not unanimous, but there was a preference for the rule to no longer be implemented
The away goals rule will be scrapped from all UEFA club competitions from the start of the 2021-22 season, the governing body has confirmed.
The rule was applied to determine the winner of a two-legged knockout tie in cases where the two teams had scored the same number of goals on aggregate over the two matches. If one team had scored more away goals, they would qualify for the next round.
Paris Saint-Germain and Porto both benefitted from the ruling during the 2020-21 Champions League campaign, likewise PSG in the Women’s Champions League.
Meanwhile, Spurs progressed to the 2019 men’s final after beating Manchester City on away goals in the quarters and then Ajax in the semis.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin revealed the decision was not unanimous, but admitted there was a preference to change the rule after its “fairness” was questioned
“The away goals rule has been an intrinsic part of UEFA competitions since it was introduced in 1965,” Ceferin said.
“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.”
With the move applying to all UEFA men’s, women’s and youth competitions, Ceferin said the change could lead to more attack-minded ties.
Ceferin 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. 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.”