A big change could soon be made to European club football as we know it if clubs are willing to put their opinions on the matter of away-goals forward
European football governing body UEFA is considering scrapping the away-goals rule for its European competitions, a whopping 56 years after it was first introduced.
That is according to a report by The Times.
The rule is used in both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League when the score of a two-legged knockout clash is level on aggregate after 180 minutes of football being played, with the team that has scored the most away goals over the course of the two legs progressing to the next phase of the competition.
However, there is a growing feeling that the rule is outdated, meaning a move to scrap it is poised to be discussed at Friday’s meeting of UEFA’s club competitions committee in Porto, which, of course, is just one day prior to the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea.
If there is enough support for the rule to be axed, UEFA will begin the process of looking to change the rule.
Last month, UEFA considered introducing a hybrid version where either the rule would be scrapped if a contest went to extra time or, alternatively, would only come into effect once extra time was reached. But that decision was soon ditched on the basis that it was seen as being too confusing.
Should the rule be scrapped, it would almost certainly see more matches go to both extra time and penalties to determine a winner.
For instance, in this season’s Champions League campaign, reigning holders Bayern Munich were sent packing by French giants Paris Saint-Germain on the away-goals rule. The German club lost the first-leg at home 3-2 before winning 1-0 in Paris, meaning PSG’s three-goal haul in the first-leg was enough to see them progress.
Juventus also suffered the heartbreak of being victims of the away-goals rule, bowing out of the competition at the last-16 stage at the hands of Porto, who Chelsea knocked later knocked out of the competition in the last-eight.
UEFA are apparently not willing to set the tone for an argument on either side of the fence, but they do want to get an understanding of how clubs on the committee would feel if the rule was to be ditched.
It is claimed that the away-goals rule has been a problem this season when matches have been forced to be played in neutral venues due to the pandemic.
UEFA did contemplate scrapping away-goals back in 2018 after calls from managers, but, ultimately, there was not enough support for that decision to be carried through and brought to fruition.
Thomas Tuchel and former Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho are claimed to be amongst those have called for the rule to be ditched.
It has not been reported how quickly the change, should it be supported, could be implemented.