Champions League

Celtic given CL all-clear

2014-08-18 19:40
Champions League logo (file)

Geneva - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have said on Monday that it had refused to fast-track an appeal by Legia Warsaw over their dramatic exit from the Champions League despite thrashing Celtic.

Swiss-based CAS said that Legia had on Friday filed an "urgent application for provisional measures", to enable the Polish club to return to the play-offs this week pending a final ruling in the bitter battle.

After considering written submissions from Legia, Celtic and European football's governing body UEFA, the head of the CAS appeals division decided to turn down the request, the tribunal said.

CAS said it will now set up a panel of arbitrators who will examine the case within the next three weeks.

Legia opted to turn to CAS after UEFA's appeals panel last Thursday dashed their hopes of recovering their berth in the tournament.

They had been thrown out of the Champions League on August 8, even though they 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.

Legia were punished 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 let Celtic advance because they had scored in Warsaw.

The sanction was handed down because Legia fielded defender Bartosz Bereszynski for four minutes at the end of the second leg.

The player had been sent off in Legia's concluding Europa League match last season.

He was suspended for violent conduct for Legia's two matches against Ireland's St Patrick's in the Champions League second qualifying round and also missed the first-leg victory over Celtic.

But it then emerged that Bereszynski had not been registered in Legia's squad for the second qualifying round, meaning the matches did not count towards his suspension.

Legia argue that the whole affair is the result of a massive misunderstanding, and that applying the letter of the law is harsh and flies in the face of good sportsmanship.

In a sign of their anger, Legia have also asked CAS to ensure that no sanctions are imposed on the club or Bereszynski.

Given that reaching the playoffs is a major boost for a club's coffers, Legia also want CAS to order UEFA to pay them compensation.

They have urged Celtic to do what they claim is the decent thing, by stepping 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.

Celtic face Slovenian champions Maribor in the play-offs, with their away leg on Wednesday and the home leg in Glasgow on August 26.

Having dropped into the Europa League play-offs, Legia face Kazakh side Aktobe away on Thursday and at home on August 28.

Read more on:    cas  |  uefa  |  champions league  |  soccer

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