RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: LAYING DOWN THE LAW IN EURO 96

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Euro 96 sees the introduction of the "golden goal" rule in the knockout stages for the first time in a European Championship or World Cup finals. Under the rule, the first team to score a goal in extra time wins the game.

Concern by both Fifa and Uefa over teams playing for penalty shoot-outs brought the trials of the new rule across the globe, including in England, where Birmingham's Paul Tait scored the extra-time goal that instantly finished last season's Auto Windscreens Shield Final against Carlisle.

But Euro 96 will be the biggest tournament in which the sudden-death rule has been used. If the extra-time period of 30 minutes does not bring a goal then penalties will still decide the winners.

What fans of sides losing by golden goals will make of it is unclear, but the behaviour of the thousands of spectators from across the Continent who are descending on England for the tournament could dictate how far their teams go.

Fair Play - assessed by Uefa delegates and based on the behaviour of players and supporters and their success "in abiding by the spirit as well as the laws of the game" - could determine group winners and runners- up if teams are otherwise equal.

With three points for a win and one for a draw, Uefa has done its best to ensure that there are clear-cut qualifiers at the top of each group.

Teams level on points will first be ranked in order of their individual match results, with goal difference and then goals scored in the matches between the competing teams differentiating if sides are level.

Other group matches would then be taken into account, followed by the points co-efficients gained by the sides from the qualifying rounds of Euro 92, USA 94 and Euro 96.

After that, the Fair Play conduct would be a decisive measure, with the drawing of lots the last resort.

Comments