UEFA is contemplating whether the away-goals rule should remain in force in European competition and is looking to change how Champions League clubs are seeded.
The issues were discussed as part of Uefaâ€™s two-day meeting of leading coaches in Nyon. The away-goals rule was introduced nearly 50 years ago when playing away in Europe was a novelty, but critics say it has now become counter-productive, unnecessary and unfair.
â€œThere was a bit of a debate about whether it has any significance today,â€ said Sir Alex Ferguson (pic), who was chairing the meeting. â€œSome think it is not as important as it used to be … and the attacking emphasis on the game today means more teams go away from home and win.
â€œIf we go back, say, 30 years, counter-attacking consisted of one or maybe two, players. Today, counter-attacks have players flooding forward in fives or sixes and really positive, quick passing.â€œ
The rule, under which away goals count double if a two-legged tie ends with the aggregate scores level, was introduced into European competition in the Cup Winnersâ€™ Cup in 1965-66.
It was first used in a second-round tie when Honved progressed at the expense of Dukla Prague following a 4-4 aggregate draw.
At the time it was seen as preferable to having a time-consuming playoff or the arbitrary toss of the coin which was sometimes employed and which sent Liverpool to the European Cup semi-final in 1965 after two goalless draws against FC Cologne.
â€œWhat is helping is that the state of the pitches, pitches are fantastic nowadays, so coming out of defence with passes is much easier than it was 30 years ago, and you get a better attitude to counter-attack today than you did 30 years ago,â€ Ferguson said.
â€œFrom a personal point of view, when I was playing at home, I used to say to myself, donâ€™t lose a goal,â€ he added.
With regards to seeding, currently the European governing body ranks clubs over five years of competition results, leaving champions such as Manchester City, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain among the No2 seeded teams and leading to criticism that the draws are repeating themselves.
One option for Uefa would be to guarantee a top seeding to winners of the highest-profile leagues. though Ferguson reacted coolly to the idea.
The Scot, a two-times Champions League winner with Manchester United, said of the group draws: â€œI donâ€™t necessarily think the seeding plays a great part.â€ He added: â€œYou take what you get and your performance is the most important thing.â€
â€œFrom a personal point of view, when I was playing at home, I used to say to myself, donâ€™t lose a goal,â€ he added. – The Independent