Celtic europa appeal upheld
Published 03/09/2011 | 05:00
Celtic have been reinstated into the Europa League, subject to appeal, after UEFA upheld the club's complaint relating to the matches against Sion, the Parkhead club have revealed.
The Swiss club were charged by UEFA with fielding ineligible players in both Europa play-off ties against the Hoops. The two games were played under protest by Celtic.
Sion were drawn against Atletico Madrid, Udinese and Rennes in the group stages. Celtic will now take the Swiss side's place in the competition.
A club spokesperson said: "We have been advised by UEFA that the two protests relating to the matches against FC Sion have been upheld, as a result of which each match has been forfeited in favour of Celtic.
Sion signed five players with the club still under a transfer ban which was imposed by FIFA after breaching rules over the signing of Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary three years ago, even though a Swiss court had ruled in their favour.
UEFA made the ruling despite the fact that Sion have two rights of appeal, the second with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who maintain they are the final voice.
UEFA president Michel Platini had offered Celtic some hope before the group stage draw when he said: "What is happening there is the rules have not been respected. FC Sion has not respected the rules of the transfer ban -- they signed players and then played those players."
However, Sion president Christian Constantin said before the second leg win over Celtic he was confident that the Swiss club would win their case.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said if the Parkhead club were successful, he would look forward to the group stages. He said: "I think it is a Champions League group in terms of the quality of the clubs that are in there. It is exciting."