Community Shield 2017: All you need to know about the new ABBA shootout format in football

Arsenal beat Chelsea on penalties to lift the 2017 FA Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday. The London rivals couldn't be separated after ninety minutes following a 1-1 draw and they had to go through the roller-coaster of spot-kicks to decide the winner.

However, the shootout had a twist and a new format left everyone baffled. As the Gunners outdid Chelsea 4-1 from six yards, the 'ABBA' penalties format became the talking point.

What is the ABBA penalty shootout?

Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea had a torrid time during the ABBA penalty shootout. AFP

Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea had a torrid time during the ABBA penalty shootout. AFP

Firstly, it's no rocket science. It's just a change in order in which teams take the spot-kicks in a shootout. Earlier the two teams used to take turns to take their kicks, now UEFA and FIFA are examining the new system, as an alternative to the current ABAB.

The format is similar to how serve is shifted in a tennis set tie-breaker.

It involves team A taking the first penalty, team B the second and third, team A with the fourth and fifth and so on until each team had taken five. The sequence would continue if the shootout goes to sudden death.

The authorities are trying out the new system as they feel it will help them eliminate any undue advantage a team shooting first may have. Research has revealed that teams shooting first end up winning 60 percent of the penalty shootouts.

'The hypothesis is that the player taking the second kick in the pair is under greater mental pressure,' said UEFA.

'If the opposition's first penalty in the pair has been successful, a miss by the second penalty-taker in the pair could mean the immediate loss of a match for his team, especially from the fourth pair of penalties onwards.' UEFA said.

This format was first used during the UEFA U-17 Championships earlier this year. The Under-20 World Cup used the same system in a quarter-final match where Uruguay beat Portugal. Later, in the semi-final, Uruguay went on to lose against Venezuela in the same penalties format.

West Bromwich Albion and Leicester were the first club teams to try it with the Foxes emerging victorious in the Premier League Asia Trophy in July.

The English Football League (EFL) have announced that they will be using the ABBA shootout format for all of their competitions that include the League Cup, Checkatrade Trophy and for the promotion play-offs.

After the Community Shield, several football fans across the globe expressed their displeasure at the new format, so it will be interesting to see how fans react at the end of the season when bigger matches might be decided by the ABBA system of penalty shootout.


Published Date: Aug 07, 2017 09:15 pm | Updated Date: Aug 07, 2017 09:15 pm


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