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Celtic reinstated to Champions League

ESPN staff
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It is not be the first time that Celtic have benefited from an ineligibility ruling © PA Photos
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Celtic have been reinstated in the Champions League after Legia Warsaw were ejected from the competition for fielding an ineligible player, UEFA has announced.

Polish side Legia won their third qualifying round tie against the Scottish champions 6-1 on aggregate, but were found to have fielded an ineligible player in the second leg on Wednesday night by European football's governing body.

Bartosz Bereszynski, who was an 86th-minute substitute at Murrayfield, was sent off for violent conduct against Apollon in the final match of Legia's Europa League campaign last season.

The full-back 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. Celtic have been drawn against Maribor in the play-off round.

UEFA's investigation centred on whether the player was registered in Legia's squad against the Irish side in order to allow a three-match suspension to take effect.

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 say a match may be forfeited if an ineligible player participates, "as long as the opposing team files a protest".

The team forfeiting the match si recorded as having suffered a 3-0 defeat, an adjusted result which puts Celtic through to the play-off round 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 also 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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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