Europe’s football governing body, UEFA, is giving serious consideration to scrape the away-goal rule in continental competition after leading coaches suggested the time is right for a change.
Giorgio Marchetti, deputy secretary general of European football’s governing body, confirmed it would “open a discussion” on the future of the rule used to split teams who are level on aggregate in knockout ties in the Champions League and Europa League.
“The coaches think that scoring goals away is not as difficult as it was in the past,” Marchetti told reporters. “They think the rule should be reviewed and that’s what we will do.
“They consider the situation in football has changed and the weight of the away goals is not the same as many years ago when the rule was introduced.”
Marchetti spoke after the annual Elite Club Coaches Forum in Nyon, which is used to swap ideas with UEFA about possible improvements to the game and debate the future of the continent’s top tournaments.
Along with the away-goals rule, the use of VAR and the technical and tactical aspects of last season’s tournaments, attendees also called for a unified end to the transfer window.
A number of coaches are said to have been frustrated this year by the different closing dates for individual countries and leagues.
“We discussed the summer transfer windows – the coaches were of the view that there should be a unified window and that the window should not overlap with the start of competitions,” Marchetti said.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui and Paris Saint-Germain’s Thomas Tuchel were among the coaches who attended the Elite Coaches Forum, along with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
The others included Carlo Ancelotti of Napoli, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, Rafa Benitez of Newcastle United, Sergio Conceicao of Porto, Paulo Fonseca of Shakhtar Donetsk, Marseille’s Rudi Garcia and Senol Gunes of Besiktas.
The rule was first used in the European Cup Winners’ Cup of 1965, as a way of settling ties that finished level, so as to avoid the prospect of deciding the result with a coin toss or a replay at a neutral venue, which was a far greater logistical challenge than it is today.