UEFA announce rule change that could impact Mikel Arteta’s three-year Arsenal plan

European football governing body UEFA has confirmed that the away goals rule for its European competitions will be scrapped next season.

This is a whopping 56 years after it was first introduced.

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.

Well, until now as UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has explained why the decision has been made to abolish the away goals rule in every competition from the 2021/22 season.

“The away goals rule has been an intrinsic part of UEFA competitions since it was introduced in 1965. However, the question of its abolition has been debated at various UEFA meetings over the last few years,” he said. “Although there was no unanimity of views, many coaches, fans and other football stakeholders have questioned its fairness and have expressed a preference for the rule to be abolished.”

“The impact of the rule now runs counter to its original purpose as, in fact, it now dissuades home teams – especially in first legs – from attacking, because they fear conceding a goal that would give their opponents a crucial advantage.

“There is also criticism of the unfairness, especially in extra time, of obliging the home team to score twice when the away team has scored. It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was.

“Taking into consideration the consistency across Europe in terms of styles of play, and many different factors which have led to a decline in home advantage, the UEFA Executive Committee has taken the correct decision in adopting the view that it is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home.”

UEFA have implemented a major change. (Image: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images for UEFA).
UEFA have implemented a major change. (Image: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images for UEFA).

Whilst this rule change doesn’t impact Arsenal right away as they are not competing in Europe after finishing eighth in the Premier League last term, it will affect them if, or, when they do return.

In fact, Mikel Arteta ‘s three-year plan is to win the Champions League, as revealed by Willian.

“One of the reasons I wanted a three-year deal was to be part of a plan, not just a player passing through,” the Brazilian said, as per Sky Sports. “When I talked with the manager he told me why he needed me for three years.

“It was that he first wanted to qualify for the Champions League and win it by the time I left.

“That was what I wanted to hear. I was at Chelsea for seven years and won everything except the Champions League. Hopefully, this move will give me the trophy I haven’t got as well as another Premier League title.”

The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.

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Unfortunately for Arteta he is already two years behind on this ambitious plan as Arsenal did not win European football’s richest prize in his first full season as manager and won’t be doing so in the 2021/22 campaign either.

As a result, he needs to ensure the Gunners qualify for the competition in 2022/23 to stay on track and then has to win it to fulfil his target.

Regardless if Arsenal are back at Europe’s top table within the next year, they know now that away goals are no longer in play when it comes to the knockout phase of European competitions.

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