The tweaks to the game do not stop, with UEFA sticking their hands into another facet of football that has been in place since 1965.
On Thursday, it was confirmed that all UEFA club competitions across the men’s, women’s and youth groups can no longer be decided on away goals starting from the coming season after earning the seal of approval from the executive committee.
It’s a controversial move for a part of the game that has resulted in considerable drama and has had a long-standing say in the makeup of Europe’s cup competitions.
It means that if a tie sees both teams with the same number of goals across two legs, extra time will ensue and if they still cannot be separated it will go to a penalty shootout.
Away goals have played a significant role in various ties for Liverpool over the years and keeps the excitement and jeopardy in play long into the second leg, just think back to Barcelona in the semi-final in 2019 when one away goal at Anfield would have flipped the game on its head.
The removal of away goals could certainly see extra-time come into play more regularly at a point in time when the demand on the players has never been higher.
Add that to the new Champions League format set to start in 2024/25, which will involve 36 teams and a minimum of 10 games, and you have an organisation hell-bent on asking for far too much.
There was a mixed reaction to the news on social media:
Away goals add drama, tension and excitement to two legged games. Removing this and then adding even more minutes to games to already overworked footballers is a bad idea. The longer match lengths probably drive more advertisement revenue for UEFA. https://t.co/UPwyIANtQk
— Red (@TaintlessRed) June 24, 2021
UEFA continuing to try their best to ruin the match-going experience. pic.twitter.com/DsXombItAb
— Keifer MacDonald (@KeiferMacd) June 24, 2021
It’s about time. A goal is a goal. It should be valued the same regardless of what stadium it’s scored in. https://t.co/k2A4Rf0qyc
— Ste Hoare (@stehoare) June 24, 2021
I don't like it, but I'll have to go along with it https://t.co/sPoUhIWaxT
— Ian Doyle (@IanDoyleSport) June 24, 2021
Straight to pens then, no need for ET. https://t.co/eOOPWaDJ42
— Andrew Beasley ? (@BassTunedToRed) June 24, 2021
In the bin. https://t.co/xwFVBLjEms
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) June 24, 2021
Perhaps the best course of action would have been to first remove the rule in extra time and assess its effectiveness before jumping straight into the deep end.
It will create a new dynamic from next season onwards and it remains to be seen whether it will, in fact, be a welcome one.