Sion defeated Celtic over two legs in a play-off but have been forced to forfeit the tie. Uefa's judgment and Celtic's protest relates to the fielding of five ineligible players by Sion against the Scottish club. As a consequence, Celtic have been handed two 3-0 wins for the play-off games.
A Uefa spokesperson said: "The Uefa control and disciplinary body dealt with the two protests lodged by Celtic FC against the validity of their Uefa Europa League play-off ties played against FC Sion on 18 and 25 August. The Scottish club questioned the eligibility of a number of the Sion players who participated in these matches, with the Swiss side winning 3-1 on aggregate.
"The control and disciplinary body accepted both protests and decided to award both ties to Celtic by forfeit (3-0). As a consequence, Celtic are qualified for the Uefa Europa League group stage.
"An appeal can be lodged against these decisions within three days of receipt of the written grounds for the decisions."
Celtic said in a statement: "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 Scottish FA in this matter."
Celtic will therefore take Sion's place in Group I, which also includes Rennes, Atlético Madrid and Udinese. Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive, had referred to that section as "a Champions League group in terms of quality" on Thursday.
Sion had pledged to fight any expulsion in advance of the Uefa hearing. They are, therefore, certain to launch an appeal within the stipulated timescale. The further possibility of the case being taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport could potentially put the scheduling of the Europa League in doubt.
Uefa's core point is that Sion fielded players who were signed during a transfer embargo, imposed on the club for breaching rules when signing the Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary in 2008.
Sion have challenged the length of that sanction through a local court, arguing the players in question were signed after it had ended.
Yet Michel Platini, Uefa's president, appeared to render the expulsion as a formality in the immediate aftermath of the second leg. At that point, Platini said: "There are rules that have not been respected. FC Sion has not respected the rules of the transfer ban, they signed players and then played those players."
Celtic's reprieve has potentially wider ramifications for Scottish football and its tumbling European coefficient. Before Friday's judgment, the country was facing the prospect of having none of its club sides involved in Europe beyond August for the first time.
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