Players are put on the spot

June 25, 1970
Penalty kicks will replace the controversial disc-spinning as the means of deciding European matches next season when teams are still level after extra time. The new rule brought in by UEFA will apply both in the European Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup next season and will probably apply too in the Fairs Cup.

But a decision on the Fairs Cup is not expected until the annual meeting of clubs at Luxembourg on August 5. The new rule is almost certain to be accepted, not only because UEFA, who have instituted it, are taking over the Fairs Cup next year, but because clubs have made representations for a change of the disc-tossing rule.

The change particularly affects the Merseyside pair, Liverpool and Everton. Everton, back in the European Cup next season, never faced the ordeal of losing on a spin, but Liverpool have. They lost on a spin to Bilbao in the Fairs Cup two years ago – but they did win by that method against Cologne in the European Cup in 1965.

The scrapping of the disc-spinning will be generally welcomed by clubs who have long thought that any method of deciding ties should have its roots in football itself. Spinning a disc was regarded as a lottery. Penalty taking, however, will also be regarded with some scepticism for it reduces a team game to a battle of individual nerves and skill.

No visiting player would look forward to the ordeal of taking a penalty in front of such partisan fans as are to be found in Glasgow, the San Siro Stadium in Milan or the Estadio de Luz in Lisbon. Liverpool have already had one experience of taking penalties to decide matches. That was in the youth tournament they entered in Amsterdam at the end of last season.

Double value.
Under the rules of the competition, each team took five penalties, taken alternatively, with the team scoring most, winning. One specification was that no player should take more than one penalty. What the exact rules on penalty-taking in European matches next season will be, will not be decided until UEFA have studied a report from the International FA Board.

Another rule amendment in UEFA competitions next season will be that away goals scored in extra time will also count double. Up to now, when extra time has been played to decide a tie, goals scored in that period have not been given double value.

Here again, a decision on whether the change will also apply in the Fairs Cup is likely to be taken at the annual meeting.

Reaction to the news came from Liverpool manager Bill Shankly. He said:
“Penalties are certainly better than spinning a disc. The spin is a lottery but there is skill involved in taking a penalty.
“At least it appertains to the game but I think that it would be even better to decide it on the number of corners won during extra time.
“Goals counting double interferes with the basics of the game. No goal should be counted as double.”

Liverpool secretary, Peter Robinson, added:
“Anything better than the present system we welcome. At least ties will be decided to some extent on football rather than on the flip of a disc.
“Whether penalties are the ideal system, I don’t know. I would rather reserve judgment.
“When we were in Amsterdam, the penalties were terribly gripping and exciting. Although there were only 3,000 in the stadium at the time you could have heard a pin drop.”

The new penalty rule will also apply in other UEFA cup competitions such as the European Championships of national teams, the competition for national Under-23 teams, the amateur competition and the international youth tournament.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: June 25, 1970; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited


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