CELTIC are expected to learn today whether Legia Warsaw’s appeal against their expulsion from the Champions League will be upheld.
The Polish champions put their case to Uefa’s Appeals Body in Switzerland yesterday morning as they attempt to overturn last week’s ruling of the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body which punished them for fielding a suspended player in the second leg of their third qualifying-round tie against Celtic at Murrayfield.
The brief appearance as a substitute of Bartosz Bereszynski in the match, which Legia won 2-0 to complete a 6-1 aggregate victory, saw the tie awarded to Celtic as a consequence of them being given a 3-0 forfeit second leg win. Legia, whose failure to register Bereszynski for their tie against St Patrick’s Athletic in the previous round meant he had not properly served a three-match suspension, contend that the punishment is unduly harsh.
Having been reinstated in the tournament last week, Celtic are due to face Maribor in the play-off round with the first leg in Slovenia next Wednesday night. Legia are currently scheduled to face FK Aktobe in Kazakhstan in the Europa League play-off round the following evening.
After yesterday’s hearing, Legia’s co-owner Dariusz Mioduski expressed “cautious optimism” about the outcome.
“All I can say is that I was very pleased with the way the proceedings went,” said Mioduski. “It was quite professional, quite formal and we were given ample opportunity to present our views and to explain the situation that it is more of a misinterpretation of the regulations rather than to avoid the regulations. We were listened to, which is the most important thing for me. There were questions asked on both sides, very professionally, and each side gave their arguments.”
Celtic made no comment yesterday.
Legia have outlined their intention to take their case to independent arbitration at the Court for Arbitration in Sport if the appeal to Uefa fails.