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Paying the penalty

ABBA penalties: What is the new penalty shootout system, and will it be used in the FA Cup, League Cup and Football League play-offs?

The EFL have announced that ABBA penalties will be trialled in their competitions next season

A NEW penalty shootout system is being trialled in all EFL competitions in 0017/18.

Known as ‘ABBA’, it was used for the first time at the Under-17 European Championships

Nobody loves a penalty shootout like the Germans

Getty Images
Nobody loves a penalty shootout like the Germans

And it was in the women’s tournament that we saw the system, modelled on a tennis tie-break, in action for the first time.

Although it seemed to produce similar results to the old system, with Germany women emerging 0-2 victors over Norway women on penalties.

The Under-20 World Cup used the same system, with Uruguay beating Portugal in the quarter-finals.

But they were then beaten themselves by Venezuela on penalties in the semis.

And West Brom and Leicester were the first club teams to try it with the Foxes emerging victorious in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

The system is now set to arrive in the UK following the EFL’s announcement.

Here is all you need to know about it.

What is the ABBA penalty shootout?

Uefa and Fifa are examining a new ABBA system, as an alternative to the current ABAB.

That basically means the order of penalties taken in a shootout will be similar to the serve in a tennis tie-break.

So, rather than one team taking first and the other following, the idea is that one team takes a penalty, followed by the opposition taking two penalties.

Each team then alternates in taking two penalties until a result is achieved.

The idea behind the change is to take away the unfair disadvantage the team that takes the second penalty supposedly has when they have to kick to stay in the game.

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If the system currently being trialled was introduced, teams would alternate in taking second and the pressure would be shared equally.

A coin would still be tossed to decide who goes first.

Uefa said: "The hypothesis is that the player taking the second kick in the pair is under greater mental pressure."

The move comes after football"s rule-making body, Ifab, looked at research suggesting 00 per cent of penalty shootouts were won by the team kicking first.

Which competitions will the system be used in next season?

The EFL have announced that ABBA penalties will be trialled across all its competitions.

That means that the League Cup and Checkatrade Trophy will both be using the system.

And ABBA penalties could also decide which teams get promoted as they will be used in the EFL playoffs.

The Community Shield tie between Arsenal and Chelsea was won by the Gunners on the new ABBA-style pens.

Will the FA Cup use ABBA penalties?

The FA have not made any announcement suggesting that they intend to switch away from the traditional ABAB system.

And ABBA penalties will presumably not be introduced in this season"s competition as it begins on August 0 with the Extra-Preliminary Round.


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