Celtic reinstated to Europa League
Friday 02 September 2011
Celtic were today reinstated in to the Europa League, subject to appeal, after Uefa upheld the club's complaint relating to the matches against Sion, the Parkhead club have revealed.
The Swiss club were charged by Uefa with fielding ineligible players in both Europa League play-off ties against the Hoops and the two European games were played under protest by Celtic.
Sion were initially drawn against Atletico Madrid, Udinese and Rennes in the group stages of the Europa League. Celtic will now take the Swiss side's place in the competition, subject to an appeal.
A club spokesperson said: "We have been advised by Uefa that the two protests relating to the matches against FC Sion have been upheld, as a result of which each match has been forfeited in favour of Celtic.
"We are pleased by this decision, the approach which has been taken by Uefa and the fact that Uefa rules and regulations have been upheld.
"We are also grateful for the support of the SFA in this matter."
Sion signed five players with the club still under a transfer ban imposed by Fifa after breaching rules over the signing of Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary three years ago, although a Swiss court had ruled in their favour. One of those players, Pascal Feindouno, scored two goals in the 3-1 second leg win over Celtic in Switzerland.
Uefa's control and disciplinary body made today's ruling although Sion having two rights of appeal, the second with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) who maintain they are the final voice.
Uefa president Michel Platini had offered Celtic some hope before the group stage draw when he said: "What is happening there is the rules have not been respected.
"FC Sion has not respected the rules of the transfer ban - they signed players and then played those players."
However, Sion president Christian Constantin told Press Association before the second leg win over Celtic that he was confident that the Swiss club would win their case.
He said: "I am not worried about that because the club is in the right."
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said yesterday that if the Parkhead club were successful, he would look forward to the group stages.
He said: "I think it is a Champions League group in terms of the quality of the clubs that are in there. It is exciting."
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