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Legia Warsaw lose appeal, Celtic to play in UEFA Champions League play-off

Aug 14, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

Britain Soccer Champuins League AP

Polish side Legia Warsaw have lost their appeal with UEFA after being forced to forfeit their Champions League place for playing a suspended player against Celtic.

Celtic are due to play Maribor on Wednesday in the first of their two-legged play-off for a place in the group stages of the Champions League. However, Legia can now try one final time to appeal the ban by going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), as a verdict would have to be reached before next Wednesday.

On Thursday UEFA ruled that its panel will uphold the decision to hand Celtic a 3-0 victory in the second leg over Legia, which the Polish side won 2-0. Overall Legia beat Celtic 6-1 on aggregate in the third-round qualifier, but due to that second leg result being amended, the scores were locked at 4-4 and Celtic went through on the away goals rule.

The man behind all of this is Bartosz Bereszynski, who came on as a substitute for the final few minutes of the second leg but he was technically already serving a three-game suspension from Legia’s Europa League campaign in the previous season.

UEFA rules aren’t too clear on the punishment for fielding an ineligible player and in 2010 Debrecen were allowed to advance in the Europa League despite fielding a player who was suspended.

Legia have asked Celtic for talks to discuss the issue and want the Scottish champions to stand down and give up their place in the Champions League. Would anybody really do that? Despite getting thumped 6-1 and outplayed, Celtic are now two games away from qualifying for the UCL group stages and grabbing the  massive cash windfall that comes with that.

Appealing to the CAS is Legia’s last hope and after UEFA rejected their appeal, getting reinstated to the Champions League seems like a long shot.

  1. hcandlin - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    The rule is only ambiguous when it comes to ineligible players (players who don’t appear on the squad list that subsequently play)
    When it comes to a suspended player the rule is clear. The match will be declared forfeit
    In the Debrecen case the player was ineligible (as defined by UEFA)
    In the Legia case the player was suspended (as defined by UEFA)

  2. lawson1974 - Aug 14, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    How can Legia have made such a ridiculous mistake.

    How can they not know who was suspended.

  3. ballistae - Aug 14, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    The player didnt even have to play, the very fact he was included in the squad was enough, but what beggers belief most of all, is that he himself voiced his concerns about his inclusion before the game to his management team .

  4. christophershearin - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:56 AM

    this does not make much sense. I get changing the result. But how does Celtic progress based on away goals, that were not actually scored?

    Had the result given celtic the lead on aggregate, I could understand. But to use a tie-breaker here that takes into account something that didnt actually happen is a bit absurd

    • hcandlin - Aug 15, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      Because the game was played over two legs. Legia won 4-1 at their place, Celtic win 3-0 by forfeit at their home game….4-4 on aggregate…Celtic go through on the away goals rule, just like any other tie

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