How does ADG Integrate
with the other Tiebreaker Procedures?

Win the toss, win the shootout!
How would ADG integrate with the other tiebreaker procedures?

There are three procedures to determine the result of a match or a home-and-away: away goals, extra time and kicks from the penalty mark. ADG could be a fourth procedure and tournaments could then choose between the shootout and ADG.

While tournaments could opt to play away goals and/or extra time and then ADG, the author believes that 90 minutes of normal play followed directly by ADG will be the optimal format.

In recent years a lot of debate has surrounded the away goals rule. “I believe the tactical weight of the away goal has become too important,” says Arsène Wenger. “Teams get a 0-0 draw at home and they’re happy. Instead of having a positive effect it has been pushed too far tactically in the modern game. It has the opposite effect than it was supposed to have at the start. It favours defending well when you play at home.” 18

“It was an artificial regulation brought in to avoid a third match”, says former UEFA and current AFC technical director Andy Roxburgh. “It was to encourage elite teams to attack. What actually happens is that it works the other way around. It’s encouraged home teams to defend. It gives certain goals an added value and you can argue that’s artificial. It encourages caution that wouldn’t be there if you removed it. It was introduced for the right reasons but it’s time to look at it.” 19

Jonathan Wilson writes, “The away goals rule first made an appearance in European football in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965, primarily to eliminate the need for replays, which were costly and difficult to arrange. Given the alternative was flipping a coin, it probably seemed the lesser of two evils and, besides, back then it made a certain sense. Only 16% of all European away games then resulted in an away win. Away trips were difficult as travel was gruelling and away teams would often face unfamiliar and hostile conditions. As a consequence, the tendency was for the away side to absorb pressure and try to keep the score down.” 18

“But circumstances have changed. In each of the last five years, between 30 and 35% of matches in European competition have been won by the away side. Even if you wanted to make the argument that the away goals rule has worked, the original rationale for its introduction has gone. Transport is better now and there is a great homogeneity of conditions. While the differences between a German side and a Spanish side, or a Russian side and a French side, are far less than they were. Teams are cosmopolitan, national styles less distinct than they once were. Away trips simply aren’t as frightening as they once were and so the away goal becomes a weird distorter.” 18

On 24 June 2021, UEFA approved the proposal to abolish the away goals rule in all club competitions from the 2021–22 season. After that, AFC followed the suit starting from the 2023–24 season.

Agostino di Bartolomei committed suicide on the 10th anniversary of Roma's European Cup loss
What about extra time and the chance of excessively long matches?

In a similar fashion to the relevance of away goals, there’s also been debate about the value of extra time in an era of high-tempo and pressing football. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Croatia played extra time on three occasions. So, by the time they reached the final they had effectively played an additional match. The Croatian team’s fatigue in the second half of the final, spoiled what would have been a much more competitive match.

Of the last 13 UEFA Champions League finals to go into extra time, 11 have ended without a single goal during the added 30 minutes. So, if we combine the lack of goals with players’ increasing schedules and the dwindling attention spans of global sporting audiences, then the value of extra time in modern football is certainly debatable.

Tournaments such as the Copa América and Copa Libertadores have already eliminated extra time, with all knockout matches except finals, going straight into the shootout.

So, for tournaments using ADG, the choice remains whether to also play away goals and/or extra time. As previously mentioned, the author believes that ADG after 90 minutes will be the optimal format.

NEXT: How does ADG Compare with other Alternatives and Proposals?

Read about other alternatives such as the American Shootout.