Celtic have been reinstated to the Champions League after European football’s governing body, UEFA, ruled that Legia Warsaw fielded an ineligible player.
Polish champions introduced full-back Bartosz Bereszynski for the final three minutes of their 2-0 victory at Murrayfield, a result which earned the Polish side a 6-1 aggregate win.
Bereszynski’s was sent off for violent conduct against Apollon in the final match of Legia’s Europa League campaign last season, and given a three-match suspension.
He missed both ties against League of Ireland’s St Patrick’s in the second qualifying round and then sat out the first leg against Celtic. However, he had not been registered for the games against the Irish side, meaning those matches did not count towards his suspension.
In a statement, UEFA said: “The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body have announced that Legia have been sanctioned for fielding an ineligible player in their second leg against Celtic.
“The match has been declared as forfeit and Legia have lost the match 3-0. As a consequence, Celtic have qualified for the play-offs on away goals (agg: 4-4) and Legia will compete in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
“In addition the player Bartosz Bereszynski has been suspended for one additional UEFA competition match for which he would be otherwise eligible.
“This suspension shall be added to the remaining two-match suspension which the player still has to serve in accordance with the Control and Disciplinary Body decision of 13 February 2014.”
In the play-off draw which followed the ruling, Celtic were drawn against Maribor of Slovenia, with the winners taking a place in the group stages of the competition.
Legia Warsaw have five days in which to lodge an appeal, and judging by remarks made by club official, Dominik Ebebenge, they certainly feel aggrieved by the decision.
“This is unjust and completely disproportionate,” he said.
“There have been similar cases in the past which have not punished in this way. This was just a basic human error.
“We have spent eight years working towards this and now it has been taken away from us. Financially, it’s unimaginable and the players are shattered.”