European football’s governing body, UEFA is considering a new ‘ABBA’ penalty shootout system as opposed to the traditional ‘ABAB’ pattern, where one side always has the pressure of going second (to make them fairer).
It is debuting its use at both men’s and women’s European Under-17s tournaments currently taking place.
And it was at the women’s competition; a semi-final between Germany and Norway on Thursday, May 11 that the chance to put it into use for the first time arose.
How does it work?
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 called ‘ABBA’ 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.
Notwithstanding, a coin will still be tossed to decide who goes first.
According to UEFA, the aim of this change is to stop the team going second having to always, potentially, play catch-up.
The hypothesis is that the player taking the second kick in the pair is under greater mental pressure.
The sport’s rule-making body, IFAB approved the trial after looking at the research that says the team taking the first penalty have an unfair advantage as they win 60% of shootouts.