The UEFA Executive Committee is set to discuss the abolition of the ‘Away Goals’ rule in a meeting in Rome on Wednesday, according to reports in Germany.
German outlet Kicker reports that though no decision is expected just yet, the DFB’s Reinhard Grindel and other members of the Executive Committee will discuss the rule on Wednesday. Kicker claim that if they’re all fully committed to the issue, away goals ‘could soon be history’.
UEFA competition director Giorgio Marchetti said in September after a meeting of top international coaches: “They (the coaches) think that achieving away goals is not as difficult as in the past.”
Getting rid of the rule in European competition would certainly be good news for Arsenal. Antoine Griezmann’s away goal at the Emirates Stadium last season was the turning point in the Europa League semi-final tie, leaving The Gunners with a mountain to climb despite the scores being level.
In 2014/15, Arsenal lost 3-3 to Monaco to exit the Champions League, and in 2012/13 they lost with exactly the same scoreline to Bayern Munich. Those are the most obvious examples, but there are plenty more where one away goal against Arsenal or any other team has completely killed a tie.
Of course, Arsenal knew the rules from the start just like everybody else, but that doesn’t help shake your feeling of injustice as the supporter of a team that was eliminated for such an arbitrary reason. Even losing a penalty shootout feels fairer.
As Arsene Wenger said in 2015, rather than encouraging teams to attack, the rule simply encourages teams to park the bus at home. We’ll see if UEFA do decide in favour of abolishing it next season.