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Glasgow Celtic will remain in the Champions League after Legia Warsaw lost their appeal with UEFA to be reinstated in the tournament.
As we previously reported, Legia fielded an illegal player against Celtic in the second leg of their third round Champions League matchup. That resulted in Celtic being handed a ‘walkover victory,’ despite being beaten 6-1 on aggregate score.
Legia won the second leg in Scotland 2-0, but because of fielding Bartosz Bereszynski, who was still supposed to be serving a suspension, UEFA gave Celtic a 3-0 victory, tying the aggregate score at 4-4. Celtic went on to the next round because of the away goals rule, reports NBC Sports.
"The appeal lodged by the Polish club was rejected and, therefore, the original decision of the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body is confirmed,” was just part of the blunt statement UEFA published in response to Legia’s appeal.
"Till the last moment we hoped that the spirit of sport wins,” said Legia chairman Dariusz Mioduski of UEFA’s ruling, according to Daily Record. “We find the decision extremely unfair.”
Legia can still appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with a ruling have to be made by next Wednesday. Assuming UEFA’s ruling is held, Celtic will take on Slovenian side Maribor for a place in the group stage of the tournament, which only 32 teams qualify for.
The team will have to somehow find motivation to play in the Europa League, as they are set to take on Aktobe of Kazakhstan.
Legia has tried to engage in talks with Celtic so they can ask them to step down from their place in the Champions League. It would be a bold request, considering how close the Scottish champions are to the group stage, and the financial benefits that come from advancing to the late rounds of Europe’s premier club competition.
The Polish side clearly out-played Celtic and deserved to be in the Champions League, but it does not look like that is going to happen.