European competition next season as the new rule is set to be used. It has been reported that UEFA has approved the plan on scarpping off the away goal rule, which has been considered irrelevant in the context of modern football. This would bring a big change to European football. UEFA President, Alexander Ceferin made an official statement regarding such issue.
"It is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight. 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 now no longer as significant as it once was."
Such reason has been more obvious lately, especially during the world pandemic when the games are staged behind closed doors . The matches in Champions League and Europa League this season, despite still being played in two-legged system, did not have fans in both home and away matches. A number of matches were even staged in a neutral venues for both legs such as RB Leipzig vs Liverpool in Puskas Arena, Budapest in thr round of 16 and Chelsea vs Porto in Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla at quarter final.
It is even said that even before the pandemic, such away goal rule became less and less vital as it is already easier to score away goals as much as the one in the home fixtures since today the atmosphere at home game is no longer as hostile or intimidating as it was back in 1990s backwards. No wonder that the former Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger did propose the abolishment for such rule twice before it is now approved. His first attempt was in 2013 followed by another one in 2018.
The away goal rule was first introduced in 1965 to decide the winner in a tie result of two-legged. This rule affected the results in two editions of UEFA Cup final, which used to be contested in a home-and-away format prior to the change to on a single leg final in 1998. Those are Juventus vs Athletic Bilbao in 1976/77 and in 1979/80 season in the all German final between Eintracht Frankfurt and Gladbach. The number of matches impacted by such rule at the knock out stage can even be piling up like FC Porto against Juventus and PSG versus Bayern Munich this season.
With the ruling out of this away goal policy, all goals in at the knockout stages of UEFA Champions League, Europa League and the new UEFA Conference League will have equal value. All tie matches will be determined by extra time and penalties in the second leg.