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Game theorists at New York University and Maastricht University in the Netherlands have called for a change to the rules of soccer to level an unfair advantage in one of the most tension-provoking parts of the game: the penalty shootout.

Data shows that between 1970 and 2013, the team that kicks first wins the shootout in over sixty percent of cases.

NYU Professor Steven Brams and Maasstricht University Ph.D. candidate Mehmet Ismail propose to mitigate this inequity with “The Catch-Up Rule.” This suggested rule calls for the following: if, in a given round, one team scores a goal and the other does not, the team that failed to score gets to kick first in the following round.

The current rule stipulates a coin toss to decide which team kicks first on all five penalty kicks, giving a significant advantage to the first kicker.

According to New York University, the paper also addresses rules in other sports in which luck affects a game’s outcome.

“In almost all competitive sports, the rules allow for some element of chance, such as who gets to move first,” the authors said.

The researchers' reportaim to identify rules that can be changed to ensure that talent plays the biggest role in a team’s success or failure.

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