UEFA has made the divisive call to abolish the 'away goals' rule for club competitions after more than 56 years.
The away goals rule, introduced by UEFA in 1965-66, has been applied when the score of a two-legged tie is level on aggregate after 180 minutes, with the team scoring more goals away from their home venue declared winners.
The aim of the rule was to encourage away teams to attack more, instead of setting up to defend, on the road.
While always a controversial rule, it came under scrutiny last season with some matches being held at neutral venues without spectators due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said as football has evolved, the rule has been counter-productive.
"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," Ceferin said.
Fans react to away goals change
But not all fans were thrilled with the decision.
The away goals rule has delivered some of the most memorable nights in the Champions and Europa League with mammoth comebacks a part of the competition.
This prompted a mix reaction from fans over the change of rules after 56 years.
UEFA defended their decision after posting statistics about the very gradual decline of goals from home teams since the 70s.
The governing body claimed the average goal home and away had dropped from 2.02 (home) and 0.95 (away) in the 70s to 1.58-1.15.
The decision to scrap the away goals rule was taken by UEFA's Executive Committee following the recommendation of its Club Competitions Committee and the Women's Football Committee.
UEFA said since away goals will no longer be given additional weight to decide a tie, they would also be removed from the criteria used to determine the rankings when two or more teams are equal on points in the group stage.
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