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ABBA penalty shoot-out trial by Uefa

Uefa will launch ABBA penalty shoot-out trial during the European Under-17 Championship finals. It means that Team A starts, followed by two kicks from Team B, and so on. The ABBA penalty shoot-out trial will be used in both the Women’s tournament in the Czech Republic and the Men’s tournament in Croatia. The order of penalty kicks taken by teams in shoot-outs will be changed. It’s part of the “fair play” initiative started by lawmakers of The IFAB and supported by Uefa.

Bobby Madley explains ABBA

During the PL Asia Trophy the ABBA penalty shoot-out will also be used. Referee Bobby Madley explains it to you on video. Below that you can read a written explanation as well.


The team that starts the penalty series has a higher chance to win, because the mental pressure will be higher. The starting team has the advantage to come in a leading position.  “The experiment is looking at whether the advantage for the team taking the first penalty in a pair of spot kicks in a shoot-out could be reduced”, says Uefa. IFAB has said the chance to win if you start a penalty series is about 60%.

ABBA penalty shoot-out trial

How the ABBA penalty shoot-out trial works

  • 1st kick: Team A – 2nd kick: Team B
  • 3rd kick: Team B – 4th kick: Team A
  • 5th kick: Team A – 6th kick: Team B
  • 7th kick: Team B – 8th kick: Team A
  • 9th kick: Team A – 10th kick: Team B

In the case of equality

• 11th kick: Team B – 12th kick: Team A

If still equal

• 13th kick: Team A – 14th kick: Team B, (and so on)

What it means for the referee

As a result, the ABBA penalty shoot-out trial does only need some admin changes for the referee. The procedure before starting the penalty series is the same. Uefa explains: “In the penalty shoot-out, as is currently the case, the referee will first toss a coin to decide which end of the pitch the penalty kicks will be taken at. And, as now, he/she will then toss the coin again, and the team winning this toss will decide whether to take the first or second penalty.”

Your thoughs of this trial?

What are your thoughts on this new trial? Please share them below.


  • Jeremy

    I don’t think we will ever be able to get rid of the pressure of the “potentially last kick.”

    Seems to me like we can only delay the inevitable.

    But it would be nice to not leave who has to take that momentous kick up to the toss of a coin…but how can it be more fair than the toss of a coin?

    I am very interested to see how this develops.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Who wins the toss gains the big advantage. If you kick in different order, both have sometimes a little advantage.

      Also curious how this develops, but I think we need loads of data to compare it with the current system. Not sure how quick we’ll get enough shootouts to do a proper comparison.

  • Arda

    I think in practice, this will make it even harder for the team who misses their first shot as the other team then would have the potential to increase the lead by two on their round. I personally don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing. I also think this makes managing the order and what not a teeny bit more complicated, and not a huge fan of that either.

    That being said I see how it may be effective in eliminating the chance factor.

    Lets see what type of feedback we get from players/coaches/fans. Hopefully learning curve associated with it does not ruin the experiment (i.e. Inevitable “We would’ve won the pk’s if they hadn’t changed the way they were taken…” comment)

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Hi Arda, but if in the regular order team B misses their first kick, team A also has the chance to gain a 2-0 lead. Correct? So don’t see a huge problem there compared to the current shootout system.

      I indeed think the admin work of managing the kicks does need more attention.

  • Dube Albert

    So the word ABBA comes in from the sequential arrangement of teams kicks?
    I think it should be tried to find out if it serves it`s purpose of making the second kickers win. However the second kicker`s team kicks the last or tenth kick.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Yes, that’s where ABBA comes from.
      But the second kicker’s team is not 5 times taking the kick following the opponent. Now it’s 3 vs 2, which is better. We’ll see how it develops.

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