New 'ABBA' penalty format to be trialled in 2017/18 EFL competitions

Club News

The EFL is to support the trial of a reformed format for penalty shootouts, by introducing the new ‘ABBA’ penalty shootout formula into EFL Competitions during the 2017/18 season.

The new system, which is currently being supported internationally by FIFA and in some European competitions through UEFA, will see the new ‘ABBA’ penalty shootout system adopted for this season’s Carabao Cup, Checkatrade Trophy and Sky Bet Play-Offs as an alternative to the traditional ABAB pattern.

The trial of the new system is being backed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in response to a hypothesis that the player taking the second kick is under greater mental pressure in the current format. Therefore, a different order of kickers will be trialled in an experiment to reduce any apparent advantage the team taking the first kick may have.

In simple terms, the team taking the first kick in each ‘pair’ of kicks will alternate as follows. 

Both teams to take five kicks unless knock-out process is required.


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
11th kick Team B 12th kick Team A and so on...


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.”

The first round of this season’s Carabao Cup will present the first potential opportunity for the new system to come into use in EFL Competitions, as Cardiff City host Portsmouth on Tuesday, 8th August.

Carabao CupCardiff CityPortsmouth FCEFL