Australian football history could be created this weekend when the first four matches of the PS4 NPL 2017 Finals Series are played.
This year’s PS4 NPL Finals Series will trial a new penalty shootout system which will take effect should any of the games be tied after 120 minutes of match play (90 minutes of regular time plus 30 minutes of extra time).
The International Football Association Board (IFAB), an independent association which is the only body authorised to decide and agree changes to the Laws of the Game, is currently trialling a system known as ‘ABBA’ in leagues and competitions across the globe.
‘ABBA’, which was used for the first time at this year’s Under-17 European Championships, starts the same as the common ‘ABAB’ penalty shootout – with the referee tossing a coin to determine which team kicks first.
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What differs with the ‘ABBA’ system, however, is that after ‘Team A’ takes its first spot kick, ‘Team B’ takes the next two, much like a tie-break in tennis.
The teams will then trade penalty kicks in series of two each until a victor is realised.
The ‘ABBA’ system is part of IFAB’s “play fair” initiative, and is being trialled after research suggested that some 60 per cent of winning teams in penalty shootouts come from the team that shoots first.
The PS4 NPL 2017 Finals Series is in good company in trialling IFAB’s new penalty system – the English Football League (EFL) has adopted the concept for its 2017/18 competitions, while just last month London giants Arsenal defeated Chelsea 4-1 in an ‘ABBA’ shootout in the annual Community Shield.