DARIUSZ DZIEKANOWSKI has launched a blistering assault on his former club Celtic by branding them "the laughing stock of world football" and insisting they will only go on to shame themselves on the field again should they be given the green light to remain in the Champions League.
Dziekanowski, who works as a UEFA delegate, has been appalled by the refusal of the Parkhead management to indulge in any form of dialogue with Legia Warsaw ahead of this morning's appeal against the Polish club being effectively expelled from European football's premier competition for fielding a suspended player.
"Everything was done very professionally. We expect a decision tonight or tomorrow morning."
A statement from Legia said: "The meeting of the UEFA Appeal Body was held in the morning, with Legia Warsaw co-owner Dariusz Mioduski and his associates present.
"The atmosphere during the meeting was fully professional and the club's representatives were granted the possibility to thoroughly present their stand on the issue.
"The decision of the UEFA Appeal Body is to be announced in the evening or tomorrow morning.
"Legia Warsaw would like to thank the UEFA disciplinary bodies for the prompt organisation of the appeal procedure.
"At the same time, we would like to inform you that until the official decision of the UEFA appeal body is announced the club will not issue any further communication."
Legia believed their midfielder Bartosz Bereszynski had served a three-game suspension before playing the final four minutes of their 2-0 win over the SPFL Premiership titleholders at Murrayfield, a victory which completed a comfortable 6-1 aggregate victory, but it later transpired that he had not been included in their registered 25-man squad for the club's first qualifying round tie with St Patrick's Athletic of the Republic of Ireland.
Legia head to UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, in the knowledge they have little chance of overturning the governing body's decision that they had to forfeit the second leg by a 3-0 scoreline, meaning Celtic went through on away goals after a 4-4 draw.
However, they have been rallying support throughout the world of football through a well-executed internet and social media campaign and claim to have the backing of a number of high-profile individuals such as Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and the retired Portuguese internationalist Deco, who was part of the FC Porto side that defeated Celtic in the 2003 UEFA Cup final.
Dziekanowski used his weekly column in the Polish sports newspaper, Przeglad Sportowy, to tear a strip off his former club as a result of their refusal to respond to Legia's demands for a meeting to discuss alternative means of settling the controversial tie, such as a play-off.
He believes the Glasgow club have tarnished their reputation forever and that they will struggle to beat NK Maribor of Slovenia in the qualifying play-off round. Should Ronny Deila's side get through, Dziekanowski predicts that they will be nothing other than cannon fodder for better sides in the group stage.
"This is not the Celtic
I know," stated Dziekanowski. "Celtic was known for years
as a club that always promoted fair play. I remember from
my time how the fans reacted when a player went down injured and their rival did
not want to kick the ball out.
When someone tried to dive, the fans whistled and booed.
"I am sure Celtic supporters feel ashamed and embarrassed of how their club has reacted. They know that this does not bring any pride.<
"It is not Legia that are
the laughing stock of world football, but Celtic. They decided to wash their hands
of this and put their heads
in the sand. I never expected such an attitude. I thought
they could talk to Legia and find a solution. If they had not
taken this advantage, it would have been better for Celtic.
"The whole world would
have appreciated their sporting behaviour. Secondly, I doubt they will be able to beat Maribor. It will be very difficult for them. If they qualify, they will only be points providers
for the other teams."