Sport Champions League

Thursday 18 September 2014

Legia player blunder may hand Celtic Euro lifeline

Published 08/08/2014 | 02:30

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Callum McGregor, Celtic (left) and Tomasz Jodlowiec, Legia Warsaw (right) during the Champions League Qualifying at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Callum McGregor, Celtic (left) and Tomasz Jodlowiec, Legia Warsaw (right) during the Champions League Qualifying at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Celtic's Mikael Lustig (right) and Legia Warsaw's Ondrej Duda (left) during the Champions League Qualifying match at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Celtic's Mikael Lustig (right) and Legia Warsaw's Ondrej Duda (left) during the Champions League Qualifying match at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Celtic manager Ronny Deila (right) and Legia Warsaw boss Henning Berg (left) during the Champions League Qualifying at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Celtic manager Ronny Deila (right) and Legia Warsaw boss Henning Berg (left) during the Champions League Qualifying at Murrayfield, Edinburgh

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.

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The Polish giants released a statement on their website last night saying that UEFA were looking into the involvement of full-back Bartosz Bereszynski.

He was a late sub in Legia's 2-0 win at Murrayfield on Wednesday which confirmed their 6-1 aggregate triumph.

"The club is preparing relevant information and explanations, which will be sent to UEFA today," said Legia.

Bereszynski was sent off in Legia's final Europa League tie last season against Apollon Limassol, and his suspension should have been served in his employer's second-round triumph over St Patrick's Athletic.

However, the basis of the investigation is that the player was not registered for the meeting with the SSE Airtricity League champions, thus meaning his ban would stand.

Celtic have previously been given a reprieve in continental competition in similar circumstances.

Neil Lennon's side were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Sion in the Europa League three years ago, but the Swiss side were subsequently ejected from the competition after they were found to have fielded ineligible players.

Sion had signed five players while still under a Fifa transfer ban for breaching rules over the signing of Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary three years earlier.

However, Legia will draw hope from a 2010 precedent when Hungarians Debrecen were fined £15,000 but stayed in the competition when they argued that an ineligible player was fielded in good faith.

UEFA decreed that Debrecen had "no interest in fielding this player for the three last minutes of additional time, when the score was so clearly in its favour."

Irish Independent

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