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Champions League: the away goal rule removed?

UEFA will decide next July whether to keep or abolish the away goal rule.

While the Champions League will be profoundly transformed from the 2024-2025 season with a group stage comprising 36 clubs (instead of 32), UEFA could also end the famous away goal rule.

A rule introduced in 1965

This is indeed what the English newspaper reveals The Times. The UEFA Competitions Committee has submitted this recommendation, which will be put to a vote at the next executive committee of the European body, which will take place on 9 July.

The away goal rule was introduced in the 1965-1966 Cup Cup before being extended to all European competitions in 1969. This tiebreaker system is used in the knockout stages. Thus, if two teams are tied for cumulative goals scored in a home and away match, the qualification (or the title if it is a home and away final) goes to the team that scored the most. away goals.

This rule has been the subject of debate for many years. In 2003, Inter Milan and AC Milan, who play in the same stadium, at San Siro, faced each other in the semi-finals of the Champions League. AC Milan had received their neighbor in the first leg for a 0-0 score before drawing 1-1 on the return leg and qualifying thanks to the away goal rule.

Mourinho does not like this rule

In March 2014, it was José Mourinho who expressed his opposition to this rule, especially in the event of an extension: “The return leg is always an advantage for the away team, not the home side. Because, in the event of extra time, the visitors have thirty minutes more to score a goal that will count twice! So it’s better to move on the way back ”, he said before the quarter-final second leg of the Champions League between Chelsea and PSG. This did not prevent Chelsea from qualifying thanks to… the away goal (3-1 defeat at the Park and 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge).

Sepp Blatter, who was then the president of FIFA, agreed with the Special One: “This rule favors the moving club. Indeed, if the two teams are tied after regulation time, the traveling team benefits from the thirty minutes of extra time to score a goal of capital importance. Why not do it like in MLS or the CONCACAF Champions League where the away goal rule only applies for the initial 90 minutes? “

UEFA clearly intends to go much further than Blatter and Mourinho’s suggestions by simply removing this rule. And that should lead to an increase in overtime.

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