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Legia Warsaw loses UEFA appeal to get Champions League place back in suspended player case

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NYON, Switzerland - UEFA has dismissed Legia Warsaw's appeal against forfeiting its Champions League place for fielding a suspended player against Celtic.

Legia can now seek an urgent Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing before Celtic plays Maribor in the first leg of the playoffs on Wednesday.

UEFA said Thursday its appeals panel upheld a disciplinary decision awarding Celtic a 3-0 default victory over Legia in the second leg of the third-round qualifying match last week in Scotland. Legia had won 2-0.

The ruling sent Celtic through on away goals after Legia won 4-1 in Poland.

UEFA punished Legia for fielding Bartosz Bereszynski as a late substitute in Edinburgh when he was technically still serving a three-match suspension.

Because Legia failed to register Bereszynski for the second qualifying round, those matches against St. Patrick's Athletic were not counted against his ban even though he was not involved.

Legia co-owner Dariusz Mioduski headed the club delegation to the appeal hearing Wednesday at UEFA headquarters. The Polish champions acknowledged that a club official was responsible for the registration error.

Bereszynski had to serve a three-match ban in UEFA competitions for being sent off in a Europa League match last December.

Last Friday, UEFA also added an additional match to the defender's sanction for playing the final few minutes against Celtic.

UEFA rules give scope to overlook a team's registration error if a player was ineligible according to regulations of the competition.

In 2010, Debrecen was allowed to advance to the Europa League groups despite opponent Litex Lovech protesting that a late substitute should not have played when the Hungarian side led 4-1 on aggregate.

However, UEFA disciplinary rules state a match "is declared forfeit" when a suspended player is fielded.

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