Celtic could be given a lifeline after Midtjylland fielded a suspended player
Defender Juninho was forced to withdraw from Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss to PSV ahead of the game after Fifa ruled that the eight-match suspension he received in Brazil was still valid after his summer transfer on the Danish side.
The 26-year-old has been suspended for his role in a brawl between Bahia and Ceará which saw six players punished with a total of 54 matches.
He served both of them in Brazil before his move to Midtjylland, which they signed from parent club Palmeiras. He went on to play center-back in the 2-1 second leg win over Celtic last week as Awer Mabil called off Callum McGregor’s excellent opener before Raphael Onyedika won the draw in extension. Juninho also faced Viborg in the Danish top flight.
Midtjylland has confirmed that he has been asked to sit the player down ahead of his trip to Rotterdam on Tuesday night and is appealing the player’s suspension.
They wrote on their website: “The Brazilian Football Federation imposed several quarantines in the spring after a disciplinary case in a match in Brazil, notably in Juninho, who was awarded eight matches in the stands. As part of the move to FC Midtjylland, Fifa had to assess whether the quarantine was exclusively valid at national or world level.
“The FIFA disciplinary committee met yesterday afternoon, where it was decided to confirm the quarantine of the Brazilian Football Federation from a total of eight days of play, two of which have already been served in Brazil This information was passed on by UEFA a few hours ago, which is why Juninho has been forced to withdraw from tonight’s showdown as well as the next five matches in all tournaments.
“We take note of the decision, but don’t understand the timing. We are just hours away from an important match for the Champions League qualification in the Netherlands and do not have the possibility of taking a replacement, explains sporting director Svend Graversen.
“FC Midtjylland are studying the possibility of appealing the decision. “
Celtic have benefited twice in the past ten years from opponents fielding ineligible players. In 2011, Sion was kicked out of the Europa League for lining up five signings in a transfer embargo. The Swiss team had beaten Neil Lennon’s men 3-1 overall in the play-offs but saw their place in the groups taken by the Parkhead team.
Then, in 2014, Celtic advanced to the next round of the Champions League qualifiers after Legia Warsaw signed an ineligible replacement at the end of the second half of their second leg win. The Polish side had largely beaten Celtic and new manager Ronny Deila 6-1 on aggregate, but the 3-0 win attributed to Parkhead’s side saw them advance on away goals.
Celtic face Jablonec in this season’s Europa League third qualifying round on Thursday as new boss Ange Postecoglou sets out in search of his first competitive win since taking office.