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UEFA Removes Away Goals Rule from All Competitions Beginning with 2021-22 Season

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2021

Balls are displayed on the pitch prior to the start of the Champions League final soccer match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Dragao Stadium in Porto, Portugal, Saturday, May 29, 2021. (Carl Recine/Pool via AP)
Carl Recine/Associated Press

UEFA announced Thursday that it will abolish the away goals rule from all club competitions from the 2021-22 season.

UEFA @UEFA

⚽ The away goals rule will be removed from all UEFA club competitions from the 2021/22 season. Ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs will now have two 15-minute periods of extra time, and, if required, penalty kicks. #UCL #UWCL #UEL #UYL

Any tie in which both teams have scored the same number of goals over two matches will now go straight to a typical extra-time format, with penalty kicks needed if the scores are still level.

Under the previous rule, if teams were tied after both legs, if one had scored more goals on the road, it would progress.

UEFA explained the rationale behind the decision, noting that there is no longer as much of a gap between home and away success as there once was:

UEFA @UEFA

Since 2009/10, the average goals per game have remained very steady in the #UWCL with the overall average of 1.92 for home teams and 1.6 for away teams.

According to European football's governing body, there is only a 17 percentage points gap between clubs winning at home or away, compared to a 42 percent points gap in the 1970s. The amount of goals scored by home and away teams is much closer too.

The new rule will most notably affect the UEFA Champions League, which features a tie system for the knockout stages, with the exception of the final.

The last use of the away goals rule in the Champions League was in the quarterfinals of last season's competition when Paris Saint-Germain advanced over Bayern Munich. PSG beat Bayern 3-2 at the Allianz Arena before falling to Bayern 1-0 at the Parc des Princes. Under the new rules, the game would have gone to extra time.

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The preliminary qualifying round for the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League got underway Tuesday. The group stage is set to run from September through December, with the knockout stages commencing in February 2022 and the final set for May 28.

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