Celtic won't bow to 'emotional blackmail' from Legia Warsaw

CELTIC refuse to submit to what they consider is emotional blackmail from Legia Warsaw.

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Dariusz Mioduski claims Celtic should have stepped aside to allow Legia Warsaw into the play-off round
Dariusz Mioduski claims Celtic should have stepped aside to allow Legia Warsaw into the play-off round

The Polish champions are becoming increasingly desperate in their attempt to be reinstated to the Champions League play-offs.

They are appealing the decision by Uefa that they had to forfeit their 2-0 second leg win over Celtic for fielding an ineligible player, and suffer a 3-0 defeat as a punishment.

That was enough to see the tie finish 4-4 on aggregate, with the Hoops going through on the away goal rule.

Legia have vowed to take their case all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if Uefa refuse to overturn the decision made last Friday.

But, sensing they are highly unlikely to win re-entry to the Champions League, Legia are now using every means available to try and paint Celtic in a bad light.

That's despite the fact Celtic did not protest the result at Murrayfield, request a disciplinary case be opened or ask for the match forfeit to be implemented. All of which was done by Uefa, as per their rules.

It is towards Uefa Celtic believe Legia should concentrate their resources as they seek to have the decision overturned.

Celtic are aggrieved Legia's co-owner, Dariusz Mioduski, has posted an open letter addressed to the Parkhead club claiming they should have stepped aside to allow Legia to go through, and questioning their honour and morals.

They are also extremely unhappy Mioduski went on SkySports in this country criticising the Hoops unwillingness to engage with them in discussions regarding the circumstances of the infringement before Friday's disciplinary meeting or, subsequently, to speak with them to try and find a resolution.

He said: "I understand there is financial consideration. But, at this point, it is not just about the money. We're not floating this appeal just because we want to win the cash.

"This is about what football stands for. It's about the dreams of normal people and what they believe sport and football is about. What has happened in this case is clearly against those values and against what we would all like football to be about."

And Mioduski then threw out a challenge to Celtic's chiefs: "Be a man. Adhere to your values and at least get in touch and see if we can come to sort of normal conclusion like men should and like clubs who both cherish these values should behave."

Celtic sources have made it clear they do not believe there is anything they can do to facilitate Legia's request that they allow the Polish club to take their place in the play-off round, in which the Hoops will play NK Maribor a week on Wednesday, with the return at Parkhead the following Tuesday.

Officials of the club are becoming increasingly unhappy at the tactics Legia are adopting, and this is serving only to strengthen their resolve to hold their ground and not become embroiled in what they believe is purely a matter between Legia and Uefa.

After reading and listening to the barrage of defamatory statements emanating from Legia, Celtic did issue a brief statement defending their non-involvement stance. It read: "We are disappointed by Legia Warsaw's comments. This is entirely a matter for Uefa and its processes. Accordingly, we will reserve further comment for the appropriate time."

However, Legia are continuing to try to crank up the pressure on the Hoops, and Mioduski insisted they will explore every avenue of appeal, and hope to get the result they want before next week's first-leg ties.

Legia are due to play Kazakhstan side, Aktobe, in the play-off for the Europa League, but Mioduski said: "We still have a hope we will be reinstated because, clearly, the rules here are not the way they are supposed to work. I don't believe Uefa would allow such an injustice to take place.

"At the same time, we're trying to get in touch with our friends at Celtic (though) I don't know if I can call them that any more. The management of that club is going against what I believe are the values I believe stand for that club.

"We are trying to get in touch with the management of the club to work this out between ourselves because we believe they should behave in accordance with the values they apparently stand for, and which we know the fans stand for."

Mioduski is convinced Celtic do have it in their gift to alter Uefa's decision. He explained: "There's clear regulation that, if the two clubs come to that conclusion, Uefa will accept that and there is the likelihood we will continue playing (in the Champions League). But Celtic has to effectively stand by their ethics and do what is right."

Mioduski continued: "We expect Celtic to stand by the values it claims to have, and those values are about fairness, honesty and honour. I don't believe fans of Celtic would want their club to advance in that way, in a clear disregard for the values the club has always stood for and for which it is admired all around the world, including in this country."

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