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Uefa to review away-goals rule as managers claim it's not as hard as it used to be

Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez and Arsene Wenger were among a panel of managers who brought up the matter to European football’s governing body.

Image: Owen Humphreys

UEFA INTENDS TO review the away-goals rule in European competition after leading coaches suggested that scoring away from home isn’t as hard as it used to be. 

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.”

Managers including Manchester United’s José Mourinho, Real Madrid’s Julen Lopetegui and Napoli’s Carlo Ancelotti were part of the 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.

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.

Switzerland Soccer Jose Mourinho, coach of Manchester United FC, leaves the meeting after the 2018 Uefa Elite Club Coaches Forum, at the Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Source: SALVATORE DI NOLFI

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.

Other coaches that were present for the forum were Paris Saint-Germain’s Thomas Tuchel, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and Rafa Benitez of Newcastle United.

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