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Football: cash-strapped Neuchatel set sights on Europe

Neuchatel Xamax may not yet know if they will be allowed to play in the top Swiss division next season, with financial debt crippling the club - but that hasn't stopped the team from dreaming of European glory.

On Friday, the National League will decide if the club can be granted its licence for next season. The club’s backers recently voted to launch a share offer to try and end its cash crisis.

In the meantime, though, Xamax have applied to take part in the Intertoto cup, a tournament which allows clubs who have failed to qualify for Europe a second bite at the cherry. The burden of playing the extra qualifying games right after the end of the domestic season is usually enough to put larger clubs off the idea. In Switzerland, Grasshoppers, Servette and Yverdon have all waived their right to compete.

Should Neuchatel complete the long journey towards full entry into the UEFA cup, the financial rewards could go some way towards alleviating their financial woes. In the short term, though, they will have to stump up the travel expenses for a trip to Finland, to play their first opponents MyPa Anjalankoski.

Switzerland’s second representatives in the Intertoto cup will be Lucerne, who have been drawn against Iceland’s Leiftur Olafsjördur. The matches will be played over two legs later this month.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR