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Celtic's Euro lifeline as Legia face Uefa axe over eligibility

By Robert Jones

Celtic could be handed a sensational Champions League reprieve after Uefa launched an investigation into the eligibility of one of Legia Warsaw's players during their 6-1 aggregate win over the Scottish champions.

The Polish side confirmed that they had been asked for information from the European governing body.

A statement on Legia's official website read: "The club announces that in connection with the Celtic v Legia Warsaw match in the second leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League, Uefa opened an investigation into the participation of Bartosz Bereszynski.

"The club is preparing the relevant information and explanations, which will be sent to Uefa.

"The result of the investigation will be announced immediately after its completion."

A decision is expected today.

Bereszynski was sent off for violent conduct against Apollon in the final match of Legia's Europa League campaign last season.

He missed both of Legia's matches against St Patrick's in the second qualifying round and sat out the 4-1 first-leg victory over Ronny Deila's side, but the investigation apparently centres around whether the player was registered in Legia's squad against the Irish side in order to allow a three-match suspension to take effect.

Bereszynski only came on in the 86th minute of Legia's 2-0 win at Murrayfield, when the game was well and truly over, but the context and impact of his appearance might not have any influence on the outcome of the investigation if rules were breached.

Champions League regulations state that players must be registered with Uefa within requested deadlines and that "only eligible players can serve pending suspensions."

Uefa's disciplinary regulations decree that a match may be declared a forfeit if an ineligible player participates, "as long as the opposing team files a protest." The team forfeiting the match is deemed to have lost 3-0, which would put Celtic through on the away goals rule.

The Uefa administration decides on eligibility questions while any appeals are dealt with by Uefa's control and disciplinary body.

Celtic benefited from an ineligibility ruling in 2011-12 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.

e HULL are just two games away from reaching the Europa League group stages after substitute Sone Aluko struck late on to give them a 2-1 win over AS Trencin in the qualifying third round.

Aberdeen were knocked out of the Europa League after two late goals gave Real Sociedad a 3-2 victory at Pittodrie to win 5-2 on aggregate.

St Johnstone's quest to reach the group stages ended in failure after they were held to a draw against Spartak Trnava, losing 3-2 on aggregate.

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