The away goals rule is likely to become a thing of the past in European football, with UEFA set to abolish the tiebreaker used in the even of a draw in two-legged knockout ties.
UEFA’s Club Commission have now passed the issue on to the Executive Committee, who are expected to confirm the removal of the away goals rule.
A number of years ago, Diego Simeone requested in Nyon that the counting of away goals after extra time would be scrapped, as he felt it was an unfair deciding factor if one team has had 30 more minutes of playing away from home in which they can score.
Now, it seems likely that the away goals rule as a whole will be removed from the game.
The current rule has been in place since 1965, when it was considerably more complicated for teams to travel to away European fixtures and when clubs had more limited scouting networks
The rule has led to some dramatic moments in European football down the years, the most recent high-profile instance was defending champions Bayern Munich being toppled by Paris Saint-Germain at the quarter-final stage of this season’s Champions League.However, it has been felt for some time that away goals do not carry as much weight as when the rule was brought in – with the Times quoting a source as saying:
“The view is that it is much easier to score an away goal now than it was in the Seventies and Eighties, when football was lower-scoring and stadiums were more hostile. There was less visibility surrounding a match in terms of refereeing, quality of the pitch and organisation, so home advantage is not so significant [now].”The decision is sure to divide opinion, with former Liverpool defender and now Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher against the move.
Taking to Twitter, Carragher wrote: “The away goals rule in Europe makes the games so much more exciting, please read this thread @UEFAcom for the reasons why you are making a big mistake.”Despite opposition voices, it appears UEFA will consign the away-goals rule to the history books.
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