Updated: August 24, 2021 9:07:06 am
Durand Cup, the oldest football tournament in the country, will return for its 130th edition in Kolkata from September 5 to October 3.
The month-long tournament will feature 16 sides including four defence teams and will be supported by the All India Football Federation, India Football Association, said a release by the Press Information Bureau on Thursday.
Indian defence forces, the organisers, were forced to cancel the tournament last season due to the Covid-19 pandemic while Indian Super League and I-League were the only football events held last year.
Gokulam Kerala, the nascent club from Kozhikode, are the reigning champions. The Kerala outfit beat Mohun Bagan 2-1.
Kolkata clubs Bagan and East Bengal have won it a record 16 times each.
Besides top ISL franchises FC Goa and Bengaluru FC, the other clubs from India’s top division would be Kerala Blasters, Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC.
Challenging them would be the century old Mohammedan Sporting of Kolkata, who were the first Indian winners of the Cup in 1940 and who would be leading a troika of I-League challengers including defending champions Gokulam Kerala and Sudeva FC of Delhi.
FC Bengaluru United and Delhi FC will represent the second division of Indian football whereas two Indian Army teams (Red and Green), a team from Indian Air Force and Indian Navy, CRPF and the Assam Rifles round-off the 16.
Three leading footballing venues of the State have been identified for the 130th Durand Cup, namely the Vivekananda YuvaBharatiKrirangan (VYBK) and the MohunBagan Club Ground in Kolkata as well as the Kalyani Municipal StadiumGround, which has been regularly hosting national level football matches over the past few years.
Apart from taking home a purse of Rs 40 lakh, the triumphant team will stand to receive the rolling Durand Cup, the President’s Cup and the Shimla Trophy.
The losing finalists will get Rs 20 lakh while the two losing semifinalists will receive Rs 5 lakh each.
About Durand Cup
A symbol of India’s football history and culture, the Durand Cup is Asia’s oldest and the world’s third oldest football tournament, held between 16 top Indian football clubs across divisions. Organized by the Indian Armed Forces, the Durand Cup has been the breeding ground for India’s best footballing talent, over the years.
The inaugural edition happened in Shimla in 1888, when it started off as an Army Cup, open only to the British Indian Army troops in India, but soon opened up to civilian teams. Named after its founder, Sir Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary of British India from 1884 to 1894, the iconic tournament reached its 130th edition in 2021. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have been the most successful teams, winning the tournament 16 times each.
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