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Champions League lifeline for Celtic as Legia Warsaw under investigation for fielding ineligible player

Bartosz Bereszynski came on as a late substitute.

Legia Warsaw's Bartosz Bereszynski (left) in action against The New Saints of Wales during last season's Champions League qualifying.
Legia Warsaw's Bartosz Bereszynski (left) in action against The New Saints of Wales during last season's Champions League qualifying.
Image: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/Press Association Images

AN 86TH MINUTE substitution that saw Michal Zyro replaced by Bartosz Bereszynski as Legia Warsaw eased to a 2-0 second leg win (6-1 on aggregate) over Celtic could cost the Polish club their spot in this year’s Champions League play-off with the Scottish champions taking their place.

In a statement issued on the club’s website this evening, Legia confirm they are under investigation from UEFA for the introduction of Bereszynski.

“The club is preparing relevant information and explanations which will be sent to UEFA today. Inform you of the outcome of the proceedings immediately after its completion,” say Legia.

After a red card in a game against Cypriot side AEL Limassol last season, Bereszynski was given a three game suspension. However, it appears the problem arises from the uncertainty surrounding whether or not he was listed as being in the squad for the either leg of their tie with St. Patrick’s Athletic in the previous round.

If he was not, those games did not count towards his suspension meaning he should not have appeared against Celtic.

It’s not the first time the Scottish giants have seen an opponent fall foul of rules on player eligibility after Swiss side FC Sion were booted out of the Europa League for fielding ineligible players in their victory over Celtic in 2011.

If found guilty, Legia could face similar punishment.

However, Hungarian side Debrecen received just a fine of €15,000 following a similar situation in the Europa League in 2010.

In that instance, UEFA found that fielding the player had not outcome on the tie saying “Debrecen had “no interest in fielding this player for the three last minutes of additional time, when the score was so clearly in its favour.”

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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