UEFA abolishes away goals rule for 2021-22 season
A view of the UEFA logo during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 Qualifying Group Stage draw at the UEFA headquarters. Photo by Richard Juilliart - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

UEFA abolishes away goals rule for 2021-22 season

A governing body has done away with one of the most controversial aspects of world football. 

Per an ESPN and Reuters piece, UEFA announced Thursday it's abolished the away goals rule for European club tournament knockout ties for the 2021-22 season. Traditionally and since 1965, an aggregate scoreline tiebreaker would be broken if a club that scored more away goals over the two matches could be named the winner. Instead, extra time and, if necessary, penalties will be used to break ties. 

"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," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said. "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.

"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." 

Famously, Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur advanced to the 2019 UEFA Champions League final via away goals before losing the title match to Liverpool.

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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