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The UEFA panel recommends that the goal rule be abolished

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UEFA

A UEFA commission has recommended that the guest rule be abolished for a European club competition.

Sources close to the discussions say that the Club Competition Committee has made the proposal, but the UEFA Executive Committee must make the final decision, DPA reports.

The rule for away goals was introduced in 1965. It applies in the Champions League and Europa League if both teams have scored the same number of goals in knockout matches after the first and second matches.

According to the current rule, the team that has scored more goals away is making progress. If the number of away goals is equal, the game goes into overtime.

If the rule change passes, the draws are expected to go straight into overtime, which means that many more matches will eventually go to penalties.

Spectator-free matches during the coronavirus pandemic and games played in neutral places in the crisis have partly helped to reach the recommendation, although UEFA hopes that fans will return in large numbers next season.

UEFA officials also believe that it is far easier for clubs to score goals than in the distant past, when the rule was introduced. Modern stadiums, even with fans, are less intimidating and tactics have changed.

Former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher, who is now a television specialist, has spoken out strongly against the move.

“The rule for away goals in Europe makes the games so much more exciting … you are making a big mistake,” he wrote on Twitter.

Several memorable knockout games in the Champions League are governed by the goal rule, including the classic semi-final victory of Tottenham Hotspur against Ajax in 2019.

The away goal rule is also used in UEFA national team competitions. In the playoffs for the European Championship, for example, there are both first and second matches.

Any UEFA decision will not be binding on national federations for national competitions.

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