UEFA is set to introduce a 'silver goal' system to replace golden goals for the knockout stages of next season's Champions League. The new system, to be used at the 2004 European championships in Portugal, will come into effect in extra time when matches are level after normal time.

Even if a team scores in the first 15-minute period of extra time the match will continue until the half is over. The same rule will apply for the second extra-time period. If the game is level at the end of extra-time the outcome will be decided on penalties.

Under the golden goals rule the team that scores the first goal in extra-time wins the match. The decision to change the system was made at a two-day meeting of the European Club Forum -- which represents 102 European clubs - at the headquarters of European football's governing body in Nyon. The meeting finished on Wednesday.

UEFA hope the silver goal system will be seen as fairer by clubs and their supporters, thereby reducing security problems. It also hopes the system will help to establish a single pattern of decisive play for all tournaments and competitions.

Filed by Sinéad Kissane