WARSAW: Legia Warsaw have issued an open letter to Celtic requesting talks for a one-off match to decide which side should progress to the Champions League play-off round.
The Polish side beat the Scottish champions 6-1 on aggregate in the third qualifying round but Legia were then expelled by UEFA for fielding the ineligible Bartosz Bereszynski in the last four minutes of the second leg. Celtic were then reinstated in the competition and drawn against Maribor of Slovenia in the play-off round.
Legia have considered an appeal but the appeal to Celtic suggests they believe they have little chance of changing UEFA’s corporate mind.
Legia co-owner Dariusz Mioduski wrote: “Let us meet in Warsaw or in Glasgow and settle this matter honourably.”
Mioduski praised the stature of both clubs and describes the punishment as “deeply unjust and contrary to the spirit of fair play”.
The statement, posted on the Legia Warsaw website, reads: “Celtic FC is a legend in European football – the club with an incredible tradition, which since 1888 co-creates the story of the most beautiful game in the world.
“At the basis of this legend are not only amazing sporting achievements, but also the determination and commitment to values such as honesty and honour.”
The statement alludes to Celtic’s European Cup win in 1967, continuing: “Celtic FC wrote one of the most beautiful pages in the history of European football, when in 1967 they unexpectedly defeated in the final of the Champions Cup mighty Inter Milan headed by Helenio Herrera.
“Imagine that Jock Stein and Billy McNeill were deprived of the greatest triumph in their athletic career by completing the application form wrong.
“Do not destroy the beautiful clubhouse heritage that you have left in the care of previous generations, ‘The Bhoys’. I challenge you, would you in the spirit of the game and fair play, and on the basis of Art. 34 paragraph 5 of the Uefa Disciplinary Regulations of Legia Warsaw took a common position on the Uefa disciplinary bodies. Meet in Warsaw or in Glasgow and let’s settle this matter honourably.”
Celtic are believed unlikely to agree.