Remember the Miracle of Amsterdam? Or maybe Tottenham’s dramatic win over Manchester City two season ago that sent them to the Champions League semifinals? Well, UEFA doesn’t want people to have that kind of joy anymore. According to The Athletic, European football’s governing body has decided to scrap the away goals rule for all European competition starting next season. The rule needs final approval from the UEFA executive committee on July 9, but that is likely a formality.
The away goals rule has been in place since 1965, and was intended at the time to give an advantage to clubs scoring goals away from home, with the understanding that home field advantage is a thing and it’s more difficult to score in front of a hostile crowd.
The rule came under some criticism this past season with a number of high profile two legged ties taking place either in neutral stadiums or without crowds in attendance, but with the away goals rule still in effect. The rationale for dumping it now seems to be that clubs have gotten better at scoring goals when not in their home stadiums making it somewhat antiquated.
Tottenham certainly has benefitted from the away goals rule. Using the examples in the first paragraph, in both cases against Manchester City and Ajax, Spurs would not have won the tie, but rather the match would’ve headed to extra time.
Personally, I love the away goals rule and don’t think it needs to be tinkered with or removed. It’s one of those artifacts from an earlier time that I think still has relevance and I’m a little bit ticked that removing it will probably mean bigger teams will be that much more insulated from upsets.
Disagree? Put your rationale in the comments.