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By Graham Wood
ATHENS, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Cash-strapped Greece will not compete in volleyball's annual European League this year due to the "prohibitive costs" of taking part, the Greek federation (EOPE) said on Saturday.
Greece's men's and women's volleyball teams have competed in the tournament since its inception in 2004 but due to financial difficulties as the economic crisis continues to hit Greek sport hard, the EOPE have opted to skip this year's edition.
"EOPE's new management committee met today and decided to confirm the initial plan of the previous committee put together in early December by opting not to take our national teams to the European League tournament," an EOPE spokesman told Reuters.
"The costs of participating are prohibitive to say the least for us due to the current financial climate so it was decided that we will focus on spending our budget on more modest preparations so we are ready to compete in the European Championships in September," he added.
According to media reports, taking part would have cost about 300,000 euros ($400,400), including travel expenses.
The European League, which is organised by the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) and will take place in July, was set up to improve the competitiveness of national teams and promote the sport around the continent.
Greece will now focus on the 2013 Mediterranean Games in the coastal city of Mersin, Turkey from June 20-30.
($1 = 0.7493 euros) (Editing by Ken Ferris)