Football Day in Kazakhstan Date in the current year: April 25, 2024

Football Day in Kazakhstan The unofficial Football Day is celebrated in Kazakhstan annually on April 25. On this day in 2002, the Football Union of Kazakhstan (now the Kazakhstan Football Federation) became a full member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

According to historical data, the first football teams in Kazakhstan were formed in 1913–1914 in the city of Semipalatinsk (now Semey). They were Lastochka, Olimp, Orlyata, SSK, and Yarysh. Some sources claim that the game of football was brought to Semipalatinsk by English merchants, since the city was one of the largest trade centers in Middle Asia.

The pioneers of Kazakhstani football included Mukhtar Auezov (who would later become known as a prominent author, academic and social activist), Sabyrzhan Akhmedshin, Gabdulkhan Gabbasov, Akhmetsalim Karimov, Salakh Khismatullin, Mukhamedulla Kurmanov, Kasymkhan Mukhammedov, Yunus Nigmatullin, Ziyatdin Ryspayev, Mukhammed Saidashev, Amirzhan Syzdykov, and Gussman Yambushev.

Over the following years, football teams emerged in other cities and towns of Kazakhstan, for example, Yastreb and Zvyozdochka in Pavlodar and Mars in Ust-Kamenogorsk (now Oskemen). The first football field in Kazakhstan was constructed in the city of Jambyl (now Taraz) in 1921.

During the Soviet era, football teams of the Kazakh SSR regularly took part in various football tournaments, such as the USSR Football Championship, the Soviet Cup, the USSR Federation Cup, etc. Kazakhstani clubs also participated in international matches with teams from outside the Soviet Union.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Republican Football Federation of the Kazakh SSR was reorganized into the Football Association of Kazakhstan. The same year, it became an associate member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA. In 1994, the Football Association of Kazakhstan was accepted into both organizations as a full member.

In 2000, the Football Association of Kazakhstan was renamed the Football Union of Kazakhstan and became a candidate member of UEFA. It was eligible to join both the AFC and UEFA since Kazakhstan is a transcontinental state; although it is located mainly in Central Asia, two of its regions are located west of the Ural River and thus geographically in Europe. The football union of Kazakhstan obtained full UEFA membership on April 25, 2002. The anniversary of these event is unofficially celebrated as Football Day in Kazakhstan.

Today, football is one of the most popular sports in Kazakhstan. The system of Kazakhstani football leagues consists of three tiers (divisions) and is governed by two organizations: the Professional Football League of Kazakhstan and the Kazakhstan Football Federation.

The three divisions of football in Kazakhstan are the Kazakhstan Professional Football League (Premier League), the Kazakhstan First League, and the Kazakhstan Second League. The main football tournaments in Kazakhstan are the national championship, the Kazakhstan Cup, and the Kazakhstan Super Cup.

Kazakhstan is represented in men’s international football by the Kazakhstan national football team, which has yet to qualify for a UEFA European Championship or a FIFA World Cup (as of 2022).

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