What is the ABBA penalty shootout format? The new spot-kicks used at the Community Shield explained
The new ‘ABBA’ penalty shoot-out format was used for Sunday’s Community Shield clash between Chelsea and Arsenal.
With the match ending all square after 90 minutes, the London rivals headed straight into a shoot-out to decide the winner and a new system, aimed at being fairer on the team taking the second penalty, was trialled.
The new system is based on the format used in tennis tie-breaks, with the team taking the first kick in each pair of kicks alternating, so AB BA AB BA and so on instead of AB AB AB AB etc.
“The FA has today announced that a different order of kicks for Kicks from the Penalty Mark (KFPM) will be trialled at Sunday’s FA Community Shield supported by McDonald’s – the first time the new format will be used competitively in the country,” the FA said in a statement.
This new format will be used across all English Football League tournaments from this season but the first chance to see the format at work could now come this weekend at Wembley.
FIFA and UEFA have trialled the system on the international stage and now it will be introduced in the EFL Cup, EFL trophy and playoffs at the end of the season.
Traditionally, English clubs have used the ABAB system, with each club taking it in terms to strike a spot kick.
The thinking behind the new system is the idea that there is greater mental pressure on the player taking the second kick in ABAB format, thus the advantage for the team striking first being minimised by using ABBA.
Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive said: “We welcome innovation at the EFL and I am pleased to see that the EFL is able to play its part in an important development for football.
“IFAB have identified a theory that the current arrangements for penalty kicks potentially provide an unfair advantage to the team taking the first kick so we are keen to see if the new system has an impact on one of the most discussed issues in football.
“We all want football matches to be decided in a fair and consistent manner and I am sure the new system will add an interesting dynamic to the conclusion of matches in our competitions if required.”