A major rule change could occur in both the Champions League and Europa League next season, as reports suggest UEFA is looking to scrap the controversial away goal rule.
The rule, which comes into effect in the result of a draw on aggregate after the second leg, first emerged in 1965 and was established in UEFA competitions towards the end of the decade – and has stood ever since.
However, the landscape of football has changed significantly since as the rule was initially introduced to counter enormous travel stress, match balls not being standardised and travelling supporters being few and far between.
It could all be in the past though, as Kicker report that UEFA’s Executive Committee are due to meet to discuss a potential change – although a final decision on the matter is not expected immediately.
The first steps towards a change emerged in September 2018 when Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA’s competition director, confirmed that top international coaches had expressed their belief that the rule was outdated.
“They [the coaches] think that achieving away goals is not as difficult as in the past.”
Ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho are among the coaches to have been vocal on the subject in the past, while current Arsenal boss Unai Emery was reported to be among a number of top coaches who met in September to discuss the subject.
Last season’s Champions League saw Kostas Manolas head a dramatic late goal for Roma in the second leg with Barcelona, sending the Italian side through to the semi-finals after a 4-4 draw.
The previous year, Manchester City were knocked out by Monaco after a dramatic 6-6 draw on aggregate but perhaps the most infamous result with English clubs came in 2009, when Andres Iniesta smashed home a dramatic equaliser at Stamford Bridge to send the Blues packing.
Three London clubs are still involved in European competition this season, with Spurs set to face Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 of the Champions League, and Arsenal and Chelsea both still in the Europa League, where they are due to face BATE Borisov and Malmo respectively.