UEFA planning ‘ABBA’ penalty shootout revolution
Berlin: The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is looking to revolutionise penalty shootouts to make them fairer. Instead of alternating the spot kicks all the way through, the new system will be similar to a tie-break in tennis.
The new mode is called “ABBA” whereby team A takes the first penalty followed by team B taking two. Team A then takes the next two and so on until five penalties have been taken, reports Xinhua news agency.
UEFA is testing the new system at the women’s Under-17 European Championship currently taking place in the Czech Republic and in Croatia when the under 17 men’s Championship is played.
Every football fan has vivid memories of missed spot kicks and dramas. A survey undertaken by UEFA has revealed the team starting first have a far better chance of winning than the team following on.
Spanish penalty scientist Ignacio Palacios has worked out that the team starting proceedings has a 60 per cent chance of winning. Therefore, Palacios’ advice to team was to make sure they chose to take first kick if they won the toss. Five footballers of each team then took the initial set of penalties if the game was not decided at the end of either 90 minutes or 120.
UEFA’s survey investigated 9000 penalties. It showed that the chances of scoring rose for the team starting first by between three and seven per cent per shot. After five rounds that would mount up to an advantage of 20 per cent. It’s thought the advantage comes from the mental pressure of having to follow.
Goalkeepers of both teams more or less saved the same number of attempts but the penalty takers of the teams going second missed the target far more often.
The new system is regarded as the first step to completely change the present system. Former Dutch superstar Marco van Basten, the UEFA Director of Technology, wants to abandon the entire penalty procedure. Instead of penalties Van Basten wants to install a system like the one used in ice-hockey.
Instead of shots from 11 metres, players would start with the ball 25 metres away from the goal and then run and try get the ball over the line. He would have eight seconds to complete his attempt. UEFA’s thinking behind the new format is that it would be more attractive and exciting for the fans as it is closer to original game of football.
While at least 50 per cent of German football fans are not happy about the proposed changes, it should be good news for England’s footballers. Between 1990 and 2012, they lost six of the seven shootouts they were involved in.
UEFA has set no time limit for the introduction of the new system in senior football. A decision will be made once it has been sufficiently trialled and discussed with all national associations the European association announced.