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Celtic back in the Champions League

Scottish team reinstated in football tournament after Legia Warsaw were penalised for fielding an ineligible player.

Last updated: 08 Aug 2014 20:42
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Legia Warsaw had eased past Celtic 6-1 on aggregate [Reuters]

UEFA has reinstated Celtic to the Champions League playoffs in a last minute switch after qualifying-round opponent Legia Warsaw were punished for fielding an ineligible player as a late substitute.

Legia, who had eased past Celtic 6-1 on aggregate, are weighing an urgent appeal before play-off matches kick off on August 19.

Club official Dominik Ebebenge blamed human error for failing to register the player in question for previous qualifying games - meaning those did not count towards his three-game suspension.

"The proportion between the error and the consequences is unimaginable," Ebebenge told reporters after receiving UEFA's verdict one hour before the play-offs draw.

The UEFA decision could potentially cost the club millions of dollars in Champions League prize money.

UEFA pays clubs $2.8m for the play-off round and a basic $11.5m award for reaching the group stage.

Play-off draws

Celtic have now been drawn against Slovenian champion Maribor in the two-legged play-offs.

Arsenal were drawn against Besiktas of Turkey and two-time European champion Porto will play Lille of France.

A high-class Italy versus Spain clash pair Napoli against Athletic Bilbao.

Zenit St Petersburg were drawn against Belgium's Standard Liege, and Copenhagen will face Bayer Leverkusen.

First-leg matches will be played on August 19-20, and return matches on August 26-27.

The 10 play-off winners advance to the 32-team group stage drawn on August 28 in Monaco.

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Source:
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