Celtic could be handed lifeline

  • Last Updated: August 8 2014, 10:12 BST

Celtic will be eagerly awaiting the results of a UEFA investigation into the eligibility of a Legia Warsaw player during their Champions League defeat against the Polish side.

Celtic were thumped 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw
Celtic were thumped 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw

Legia confirmed last night that UEFA had requested information on their fielding of Bartosz Bereszynski, who came on as an 86th-minute substitute as Legia won 2-0 at Murrayfield on Wednesday night.

The full-back was sent off for violent conduct against Apollon in the final match of Legia's Europa League campaign last season and missed both of Legia's matches against St Patrick's in the second qualifying round and sat out the 4-1 first-leg victory over Celtic.

But the investigation apparently centres around whether the player was registered in Legia's squad against the Irish side in order to allow a three-match suspension to take effect.

A statement on Legia's official website read: "The club announces that in connection with the Celtic FC-Legia Warsaw match in the second leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League, UEFA opened an investigation into the participation of Bartosz Bereszynski.

"The club is preparing the relevant information and explanations, which will be sent to UEFA today (Thursday).

"The result of the investigation will be announced immediately after its completion."

Celtic are in the list of participants in the Europa League play-off draw later on but there remains a possibility they could be reinstated into the Champions League qualifiers.

Champions League regulations state that players must be registered with UEFA within requested deadlines and that "only eligible players can serve pending suspensions".

UEFA's disciplinary regulations decree that a match may be declared a forfeit if an ineligible player participates, "as long as the opposing team files a protest".

The team forfeiting the match is deemed to have lost 3-0, which would put Celtic through on the away goals rule.

The UEFA administration decides on eligibility questions while any appeals are dealt with by UEFA's control and disciplinary body.

Celtic benefited from an ineligibility ruling in 2011-12 when they were reinstated into the Europa League group stages despite a qualifying defeat by Sion.

The Swiss side were ruled to have fielded five ineligible players after breaching a FIFA transfer ban and failed to reverse the decision during a lengthy legal battle.