Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Celtic back in Champions League after Legia Warsaw punished over ineligible player

Euro u-turn: Celtic lost 6-1 on aggregate to Legia Warsaw in the Champions League
Euro u-turn: Celtic lost 6-1 on aggregate to Legia Warsaw in the Champions League

Celtic have been handed a Champions League reprieve after Legia Warsaw were punished for fielding an ineligible player in their 6-1 aggregate win over the Scottish champions in the third qualifying round.

Bartosz Bereszynski, who came on as an 86th-minute substitute as Legia won the second leg 2-0 at Murrayfield on Wednesday night, was suspended following a red card for violent conduct in last season's Europa League.

Hours before the draw for the next round was to be made, UEFA announced that Celtic had been awarded a 3-0 win in the second leg, and therefore qualified on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate result.

Celtic will now go into the draw for the play-offs, the final hurdle to reach the lucrative group stages.

Celtic will now be among the seeded teams for Friday's draw.

Legia Warsaw have five days within which to lodge an appeal, and a statement on the Polish's club website indicated they had requested UEFA's reasoning for the ruling before making a decision.

Celtic benefited from an ineligibility ruling during the 2011-12 season when they were reinstated into the Europa League group stages despite a qualifying defeat by Sion.

The Swiss side were ruled to have fielded five ineligible players after breaching a FIFA transfer ban and failed to reverse the decision during a lengthy legal battle.

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