Football: European coaches ponder abolition of extra-time

Alex Ferguson during a press conference about the 18th Elite Club Coaches Forum at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Aug 31, 2016.
Alex Ferguson during a press conference about the 18th Elite Club Coaches Forum at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Aug 31, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

NYON, Switzerland (Reuters) - Europe's top coaches pondered the idea of abolishing extra-time after drawn matches in European competition and going straight to penalties at their annual meeting on Wednesday.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, Uefa's coaching ambassador, said he did not like to see players "walking" around the pitch exhausted and that extra-time rarely succeeded in producing a winner.

"Some coaches said it could be direct to penalties, others thought that could be an advantage for the smaller teams who could defend more," said Uefa's chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu.

"One thing that is very clear is that these days the players play so many matches and we raised the question whether from their point of view it is still worthwhile having extra-time."

Ferguson said it was important to consider the "protection" of the game.

"I don't think we like to see players exhausted in extra-time and when the whistle goes at the end of 90 minutes, I've always the feeling it's going to go to penalty kicks," he said.

"You saw in the last Champions League final, players walking about... it's inevitable that it goes to penalty kicks so the question is how we can improve it?"

South America's equivalent of the Champions League, the Libertadores Cup, does not use extra-time in drawn matches.

Coaches were also given a tactical summary of Euro 2016.

Only 31 per cent of games at the tournament were won by teams who had more possession of the ball, while 11 out of 15 knockout matches were won by the team with less possession.

There was a drop in goals from counter-attacks, 30 per cent came from set pieces and 18 per cent were scored by substitutes, Uefa said.

Forty-two per cent of goals in open play came from crosses and pull backs.