Wednesday, July 17, 2013

17 July 1975 - I Guess We Know Where Their Priorities Were

On 17 July 1975, UEFA adopted the use of penalty shootouts instead of replays to decide the finals of the European Cup, Cup Winners' Cup, and European Championship.

FIFA had approved the use of shootouts five years earlier, but UEFA stubbornly held on to the tradition of replays for its major competitions. In their defense, the need of either procedure rarely arose, with only four replays through 1971--three in the Cup Winners' Cup (1962, 1964, 1971) and one in the European Championship (1968).

Then in 1974, Bayern Munich and Atlético Madrid went to a replay in the European Cup Final (which the Germans proceeded to win 4-0). It turned out to be the last replay in a major UEFA competition, as they decided the following year to go with shootouts instead.

It didn't take long for the new procedure to make an appearance, as Czechoslovakia used it to beat West Germany at Euro 1976. Although it remains the only shootout in a European Championship, there have been ten in the European Cup/Champions League and six in the Cup Winners' Cup/UEFA Cup/Europa League.

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