UEFA rids of away goals rule for 2021-22 season

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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 16: Connor Roberts of Wales (H) scores his goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match between Turkey and Wales on June 16, 2021 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Marcio Machado/Getty Images)

After the plan came to the proposal stages, the away goals rule is officially out of play for next season’s UEFA competitions. This rule change applies to all European matches meaning the Champions League, Europa League, and the new Europa Conference League.

For years the fairness and logic behind the rule was in question. Since 1965, teams have lived and died by the controversial format.

The rule went as follows: if a two-legged knockout series ends in a tie, the team with more goals scored away from home advanced. This worked only because each team has a home game in the series.

Some argued that the rule made sense as scoring away from home is harder, but this is simply untrue. The only advantage a home team has is a crowd and maybe the lack of travel. However, given that most of this year’s competitions had no fans until very recently, it had almost no logic backing it.

UEFA president Aleksander ?eferin even acknowledged the rule’s often controversial usage.

“[The rule] has been debated at various 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.”

Aleksander ?eferin

The rule’s most recent usage was just last season. It saw PSG advance over Bayern Munich despite losing their second match 1-0. Given that the first leg ended 3-2 in PSG’s favor, they went on to the semi-finals over the defending champions.

Despite its many flaws, the rule also led to much excitement over the years. Perhaps the most notable in recent time was Tottenham’s thrilling comeback against Dutch giants Ajax.

After being down 3-2, Lucas Moura equalized the total score in the last minute of the second leg. Despite ending in a tie, his side went on to win due to the rule.

It is unknown how the rule change affects the game in the long run, but it may lead to more upsets and excitement like fans saw last season. With no away goal rule, home teams finally can attack freely, with no risk of conceding an “away goal.”

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