Celtic has been reinstated to the Champions League after its opponent in the third qualifying round, Polish champions Legia Warsaw, was ruled to have used an ineligible player, UEFA announced Friday.
Legia Warsaw defender Bartosz Bereszynski was sent off in the team's final Europa League match last season and received a three-match suspension. He sat out Legia's two matches in the second qualifying round and the first match against Celtic, a 4-1 Legia win, before playing the second match, a 1-0 win that sent Legia on to the play-off round.
But because the team did not register Bereszynski in the two second qualifying round matches, UEFA ruled they didn't count towards his suspension, rendering him ineligible to have played in the second match against Celtic.
"This is unjust and completely disproportionate," Legia official Dominik Ebebenge said, according to the BBC. "There have been similar cases in the past which have not punished in this way. This was just a basic human error.
"We have spent eight years working towards this and now it has been taken away from us. Financially, it's unimaginable and the players are shattered."
In addition to Legia being removed from Champions League qualifying, Bereszynski has had another game added to his suspension term.
Celtic will play Maribor of Slovenia in the play-off round Aug. 19 and Aug. 25.
- Ben Estes