UEFA ‘decides to SCRAP away goals in European competitions’ after 56 years


UEFA ‘decides to SCRAP away goals in European competitions’ after 56 years amid calls to review the ‘outdated’ rule… but Jamie Carragher insists it makes games ‘more exciting’ and warns them over ‘big mistake’

  • The away goals rule has reportedly been scrapped by governing body UEFA 
  • There had been a growing sense that the rule was outdated and needed a review 
  • A UEFA committee ruled on Friday that away goals should be abolished  
  • But Jamie Carragher believes getting rid of the rule would be a ‘big mistake’ 

UEFA have opted to scrap away goals in European competitions amid a growing feeling the rule is outdated, according to reports.

The rule has been in place in European competitions for 56 years, and means that the team who has scored the most goals away from home over a two-legged fixture win the tie should it be level on aggregate after extra time in the second leg.

But after meeting on Friday, a UEFA committee has decided to abolish it, The Times reports, with an executive committee now needing to approve the move. 

UEFA have reportedly decided to scrap the away goals rule from European competitions

UEFA have reportedly decided to scrap the away goals rule from European competitions

Porto knocked out Juventus in the Champions League this season thanks to the rule

Porto knocked out Juventus in the Champions League this season thanks to the rule

It’s believed that the use of neutral venues for certain fixtures due to the coronavirus pandemic made the rule seem particularly unnecessary, while in general home advantage in two-legged ties is not as great as it once was.

The rule has been a crucial part of European competition and has had a significant impact, leading for calls to scrap it for many years.

The rule has led to plenty of drama in major games, and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher hit out at UEFA for calling the rule into question, telling them they are making a ‘big mistake’ as it could make games less exciting.

‘The away goals rule in Europe makes the games so much more exciting, please read this thread @UEFA.com for the reasons why you are making a big mistake.’ 

During Tottenham’s run to the Champions League final in the 2018/19 season, the away goals rule ensured they progressed past both Manchester City and Ajax, while in the same season Manchester United beat PSG in the last 16 thanks to their three goals in Paris.

This season, Juventus crashed out on away goals after Porto scored in the 115th minute of the second leg to send them on their way to a famous two-legged victory.

Pundit Jamie Carragher warned UEFA they are making 'a big mistake' by abolishing the rule

Pundit Jamie Carragher warned UEFA they are making ‘a big mistake’ by abolishing the rule

PSG beat Bayern Munich on away goals after their quarter-final tie finished 3-3 on aggregate

PSG beat Bayern Munich on away goals after their quarter-final tie finished 3-3 on aggregate

Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG side benefitted from the rule to beat Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, after the tie had finished 3-3 on aggregate.

Arsene Wenger throughout his time as Arsenal manager was an outspoken critic, and once again called for the rule to be binned after the Gunners and Chelsea were both knocked out of the Champions League on away goals in 2015.

Wenger said: ‘Two teams have gone out on away goals, which I think should be questioned because it’s a rule that is outdated now and has to be changed. I’ve fought for that for a long time.

‘It should count maybe after extra time because this [current] rule was created in the sixties to encourage teams to attack away from home. Since then football has changed. The weight of the away goal is too big today.

Tottenham beat Manchester City and Ajax on away goals to reach the Champions League final

Tottenham beat Manchester City and Ajax on away goals to reach the Champions League final

‘I think maybe you can count [away goals] after extra-time like in the League Cup in England.’

Three years ago, UEFA’s deputy secretary-general Giorgio Marchetti said the organisation would review the situation after many of the game’s top coaches insisted the rule favoured the away side too much. 

‘The coaches think that scoring goals away is not as difficult as it was in the past,’ Marchetti said.

‘They think the rule should be reviewed and that’s what we will do.’