Three-time Kazakh champions FC Astana will not compete in the Premier League in 2009 with chairman Aytalap Kurgambayev saying: "We will not be allowed to take part in the league until we have entirely paid off our debts."
The club will not apply to play in the league this season, having been banned from registering new players due to debts of €1.5m owed to the playing and coaching staff. Squad members under contract with the club will be loaned out to other sides or released, but Astana's youth academy will continue to run as normal. Founded in 1964, Astana were champions in 2000, 2001 and 2006, and won Kazakh Cups in 2001, 2002 and 2005. They finished eleventh in the 16-team league in 2008.
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