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Thursday, 30 August, 2001, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Coaches oppose golden goal
France's David Trezeguet scored the winning golden goal in the Euro 2000 final
Trezeguet broke Italian hearts in the Euro 2000 final
Europe's leading coaches have called for the abolition of the golden goal for deciding crucial games.

With the start of the Champions League and Uefa Cup less than two weeks away, coaches including Arsene Wenger, David O'Leary and Gerard Houllier say another system has to be found.

They, amongst others, want to prevent players and referees from being gripped by the fear factor at the end of decisive games.

The three were among 12 elite coaches who met informally in Geneva on Thursday and all unanimously agreed the golden goal had to go.

Wenger said it was becoming increasingly bad for football.

Francesco Totti is inconsolable after France's David Trezeguet scores the golden goal in the Euro 200o final
Golden goal too much for Italy's Totti to take

"People have been educated to get a result within a certain amount of time," he said.

"But we believe it is part of the excitement of the game to see how teams react when they go 1-0 down in extra time."

Both of the last European Championship finals, in 1996 and 2000, were settled by golden goals.

So was Liverpool's dramatic Uefa Cup final win over Alaves last season.

The most recent Champions League final, between Bayern Munich and Valencia, was heading the same way until the Germans won on penalties.

"You could see during the game how much pressure the referee was under," Wenger said.

"He knew he might have to make a decision that would decide the game."

Substitute change

Although the existing system is likely to remain in place for this season, Uefa technical director Andy Roxburgh said there was widespread support for the golden goal to be abolished.

One suggestion, he said, was to have two 15 minute periods of extra time but only use the second if neither team was ahead at the midway stage.

"None of us are in favour of the golden goal," Roxburgh said.

"It's an ugly finish to a match. You should always have a chance to get back into the game.

Oliver Bierhoff scored Germany's golden goal against the Czech Republic in the Euro 1996 final
Bierhoff's golden goal shatters Czech Republic

"If we had a decision after 15 minutes the game would be finished. Only if there was no result at that time would you play another 15 minutes and then have penalties as we do now."

Another suggestion made on Thurday was to allow five substitutes in European club competitions instead of three and to drop yellow cards issued earlier in the season when players had behaved themselves before being cautioned again.

"Last season we started off in August and 18 matches later, in the semi-final against Valencia, I was suddenly without Lee Bowyer," O'Leary said.

"He had come all that way and there should have been some reward for keeping out of trouble."

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