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1 July 2004 -- UEFA, European soccer's governing body, has refused to allow Kazakh teams to play in next season's prestigious UEFA Cup because the country's sports financing and infrastructure failed to meet its requirements.

The Kazakh Football Union said today that UEFA has excluded three eligible Kazakh teams from taking part in UEFA Cup qualifying matches, which begin this month.

It said the poor quality of Kazakh sports venues and club finances lacking transparency were the main stumbling blocks.

Kazakhstan's joining of UEFA in 2002 was a source of national pride.

Given booming oil exports and a growing economy, sports observers had expected greater investments in Kazakh soccer.

(Reuters)
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