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European football’s governing body, UEFA is evaluating a new ‘ABBA’ penalty shootout system, rather than the traditional ABAB pattern, where one side always has the pressure of going second to make them fairer.

It is trialing its use at both the men’s and women’s European Under-17s tournaments currently ongoing.

As the current system stands, teams take turns in a shootout, with the choice of who goes first decided by a coin toss.


For example, team A goes first, then team B, then team A again.

The new system is called sees; Team A followed by team B – before team B goes again.

Team A would then get two successive penalties, a little like the tie-break in tennis, and so on until there is a winner. A coin will still be tossed to decide who goes first.

The idea is to stop the team going second from having the disadvantage while playing catch-up.
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The sport’s rule-making body, IFAB, approved the trial after looking at the research where it was stated that the team taking the first penalty had an unfair advantage as they win 60% of shootouts.

Written by Chineze Ogugua

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