Kazakhstani side FK Atyrau have regained home advantage for their UEFA Cup qualifying round tie against Slovakia's ŠKM Púchov after UEFA experts finally ruled their home stadium was fit for European club matches.
Atyrau will take part in the UEFA Cup for the first time when they meet Púchov of Slovakia in the first leg on 15 August. While their compatriots FC Kairat Almaty experienced no serious problems in the switch from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to UEFA, Atyrau's home stadium was initially deemed unsatisfactory for European competition.
The Munashy stadium averages the biggest crowds in the Kazakh Super League, but the pitch condition was found unsatisfactory after the initial inspection. However, in the two months since that UEFA ruling, Atyrau have modified the pitch and stadium to meet UEFA's criteria.
'A lot of effort'
Vladimir Aleshin, a UEFA Stadiums & Security Committee member and chairman of the Olympic Complex of Luzhniki, said: "After looking at the arena, I am quite sure that there was a lot of effort and money invested in the upgrading. The stadium is now at a satisfactory level for Europe, and Atyrau have not lost a single game on it this season. So, they are guaranteed the support of their home fans in their first ever European game."
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