All English Football League (EFL) competitions are set to adopt a new penalty shootout format. They will be using the “ABBA” format for all their competitions in 2017-2018.
The plan of using the “ABBA” format has already raised some concern among coaches, players and fans alike. They argued that this new system will take the thrill out of the game. The governing however said that this new format aims to reduce the pressure on the team taking the second kick during a penalty shootout. In the old format, teams take turns in kicking the ball until a winner is decided.
Some international tournaments sanctioned by UEFA have already implemented the “ABBA” format on a trial basis during the summer. Moreover, the new system will also be used in all ties in the EFL-playoffs, the Carabao Cup and even in the Checkatrade Trophy.
So how does the “ABBA” format work?
As the current format stands, teams take turns during the penalty shootout, with the first kicker being decided with toss coin. To illustrate further, Team A kicks first, then the opposing side, then it goes back to Team A again.
The ABBA format sees Team A’s first kicker goes followed by a kicker from team B, and this time, team B gets to kick the ball again. Team A would then get two consecutive kicks after team B’s two successive penalties. This is like a little tie-breaker in tennis until such time there is a winner. And just like in the old format, the new system will still decide who goes first by coin toss.
However, not all football enthusiasts are totally happy about this development. They said that using this new format tales the excitement out of the beautiful game.
The International Football Association Board or IFAB, who have earlier reviewed the order of penalty shootouts however said, that there is indeed a clear advantage as to who gets to kick first. They believe that the new system will work for the better and will ultimately bring the game to a whole new level.
This is not the first time that new technology or formats have been introduced into the game. Some of these changes were not popular among old school players and fans. One of these changes is the use of Goal Line Technology which at first, was met with resistance and protest. But as time goes by, the technology that was incorporated into the game proved to be more beneficial. And as a matter of fact, the Goal Line Technology helped decide the result of the game.
Maybe, the new format may take some time before the whole fans will accept the ABBA format. But once they see the benefits and what it can do to the game, this will surely be accepted worldwide.