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UEFA abolishes ‘away goals rule’ after 56 years 2021-06-25 오후 10:48:00

On 24 June 2021, UEFA decided to drop the away goals rule in competitions including Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League, and Women's Champions League.

In the UEFA tournament, teams get to have two matches, one in their home and the other in the opponent’s home (away). Away goals rule favors the team with most away goals when drawn two-legged game.

Some of the experts and fans started criticizing the away goals rule for its unfairness. The original purpose of the away goals rule was to reduce the home advantage. However, UEFA now claims that there is no need for weighting the away goals more heavily than the home goals.

The statistics represent that the ratio of goals between home and away changed from 2.02/0.95 to 1.58/1.15 since 1970. With developed modern technology such as VAR (Video Assistance Referee) and pitch condition, home advantage is reduced. Thus, the away goals rule is rather an unfair rule nowadays.

UEFA decided to abolish the away goals rule regarding its unfairness.

"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," Ceferin added.

"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 now no longer as significant as it once was."

From next season, if the second match finishes with an aggregate draw, two teams are going to have extra time and potentially a penalty shoot-out. This will add more dynamism to the game.

Away goals rule has created many memorable matches in European football history. Tottenham followed a 1-0 home victory with a 4-3 away defeat, leading them to the 2018-19 UCL Semi-Finals. Then, Tottenham followed a 1-0 home defeat with a 3-2 victory in Amsterdam against Ajax, leading them to the 2018-19 UCL Finals.

Football rules are changing considering the modern needs and trends. Recently, most of the football leagues adopted the VAR (Video Assistance Referee) system. Abolishment of away goals rule is another change regarding the modern trends. Likewise, there will be more adjustments to the football rules if needed.

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