Uefa rejects Legia Warsaw's appeal over Champions League
Celtic held on to their controversial Champions League berth on Thursday, as Uefa rejected an appeal from Legia Warsaw over their dramatic exit from the competition.
European football’s governing body said its appeals panel had upheld a decision handed down last Friday.
Legia had mauled Scottish giants Celtic 4-1 in the first leg of their third qualifying round in Warsaw, and beaten them 2-0 in the second leg.
But the Poles were booted out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player in Edinburgh.
As a result, the match was declared a 3-0 forfeit, transforming the aggregate score from 6-1 to 4-4.
Under Uefa’s away goals rule, that result gave Celtic the edge because they had scored in Warsaw.
Legia argued that there had been a huge misunderstanding, and that applying the letter of the law was harsh and unsporting.
As well as appealing to Uefa, they had also called on Celtic to do what Legia said was the decent thing and step aside.
Celtic have gained from a Uefa sanction before.
During the 2011-12 Europa League group stages, they kept their berth despite a qualifying defeat by Switzerland’s FC Sion, who were thrown out for fielding five ineligible players.
In last Friday’s draw for the Champions League play-offs, Celtic found themselves pitted against Slovenian champions Maribor.