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Rugby union in Uzbekistan is a minor but growing sport.
Rugby union was played in the Russian Empire as early as in 1908. In 1934 the Moscow Championship was started, and in 1936 the first Soviet Championship took place.
In 1949, rugby union was forbidden in the USSR during the "fight against the cosmopolitanism". The competitions were resumed in 1957, and the Soviet Championship in 1966. In 1975 the Soviet national team played their first match.
In 1962, rugby in Uzbekistan underwent a major expansion as four new teams were founded.
Uzbekistan had its own rugby team in the USSR, but it was not treated as a proper national side.
Uzbek rugby, like that of Kyrgyzstan is mainly confined to the military and universities, although there is a schools programme underway.Kazakhstan has been a major impetus for rugby growth in the region (Almaty had a team in the Soviet league, and they also have a formidable women's team), and has been a major factor in keeping the game going in its neighbouring countries. For years, most of Uzbekistan's games, formal, or informal were against Kazakhstan, or Kazakh domestic sides.
Currently they take part in the Central Asian region of the Asian Five Nations.
Central Asia is a region which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of". Depending on different interpretations, the neighbouring areas are sometimes also considered part of the region.
The Kazakhstan national football team represents Kazakhstan in men's international football and it is governed by the Football Federation of Kazakhstan. They split from the Soviet Union national football team after independence in 1991 and joined the Asian Football Confederation's Central Asian Football Federation. After failing to qualify for the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups, they joined UEFA, but are yet to qualify for a FIFA World Cup or a UEFA European Championship.
The Uzbekistan national football team represents Uzbekistan in international football and is controlled by the Uzbekistan Football Association, the governing body for football in Uzbekistan.
Kazakhstan consistently performs in Olympic competitions. It is especially successful in boxing. This has brought some attention to the Central Asian nation, and increased world awareness of its athletes. Kazakhstan's city of Almaty submitted twice bid for the Winter Olympics: In 2014 and again for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Nur-Sultan and Almaty hosted the 2011 Asian Winter Games.
Soviet Central Asia refers to the section of Central Asia formerly controlled by the Soviet Union, as well as the time period of Soviet administration (1918–1991). Central Asian SSRs declared independence in 1991. In terms of area, it is nearly synonymous with Russian Turkestan, the name for the region during the Russian Empire. Soviet Central Asia went through many territorial divisions before the current borders were created in the 1920s and 1930s.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a federation made up of 15 Soviet socialist republics, and existed from 1922 until its dissolution in 1991. Six of the 15 republics had a Muslim majority: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. There was also a large Muslim population in the Volga-Ural region and in the northern Caucasus region of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Many Tatar Muslims also lived in Siberia and other regions.
Rugby union in Russia is a moderately popular sport. Russia is ranked 20th worldwide by the World Rugby, having over three hundred clubs and close to 22,000 players nationally. Russia has a professional domestic competition.
Rugby union in Georgia is a popular team sport. Rugby union is considered the most popular sport in Georgia.
Rugby union in Armenia is a growing sport. The national team is currently unranked in the world rankings, which records only the top ninety-six countries. The governing body for Armenia is the Rugby Federation of Armenia.
The USSR national rugby union team was a sporting side that represented the Soviet Union in rugby union until the early 1990s.
Rugby union in Azerbaijan is a growing sport. They are currently unranked in the International Rugby Board's world rankings, which ranks only the top ninety-five countries. The governing body for Azerbaijan is Azerbaycan Reqbi Federasiyasl.
Rugby union in Moldova is a popular sport. The governing body in Moldova is the Moldovan Rugby Federation.
Rugby union in Latvia is a minor but growing sport. During the pre-independence period, Latvia was not a centre for the game but nonetheless
Rugby union in Lithuania is a minor but growing sport.
Rugby union in Ukraine is a minor but growing sport, with a history dating back over six decades.
Rugby union in Kazakhstan is a fairly popular sport. As of May 2018, they are ranked 61st by World Rugby, and as of June 2009, they had 2335 registered players and twenty clubs.
Rugby union in Kyrgyzstan is a minor but growing sport.
Rugby union in the Soviet Union was a moderately popular sport. It was most popular in the Georgian SSR; parts of the Russian SFSR such as Moscow and certain regions in Siberia like Krasnoyarsk; and Alma-Ata, the capital of the Kazakh SSR. Rugby enjoyed a more limited popularity in the Ukrainian SSR, Minsk in the Byelorussian SSR and parts of the RSFSR such as Leningrad and areas in Southern Russia, including Krasnodar. Rugby gained a significant following due to the vast size of the Soviet Union, but was never a major sport; despite many attempts to develop the sport, which Soviet citizens came to nickname the "leather melon" due to the shape of the ball. Still, an early championship in 1960 gives an idea of the sheer scale of Soviet rugby: one hundred teams from over thirty cities took part.
Rugby union in Turkmenistan is a minor but growing sport.
Rugby union in Tajikistan is a minor but growing sport.
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