Kolkata to host 130th Edition of the 16-team Durand Cup Football tournament
New Delhi, August 23, 2021
Kolkata will host the 130th edition of the Durand Cup Football tournament from September 5 to October 3.
Five Indian Super League (ISL) franchises and three I-League teams will be among 16 teams vying for the title in the world’s third oldest and Asia’s oldest football tournament.
This is the second time that Kolkata, citadel of Indian football, will be hosting it, having earlier held it in 2019, after the tournament moved from its long-time venue at Delhi.
Traditionally organized by the Indian Army on behalf of Armed Forces, this year it will have West Bengal Government as joint hosts. The state has been providing admirable support in all aspects of the organization.
Besides top ISL franchises Goa and Bengaluru, the other clubs from the top division are Kerala Blasters, Jamshedpur and Hyderabad FC.
Challenging them would be the century-old Mohammedan Sporting, 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.
Bengaluru United and Delhi will represent the second division of the 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 Durand Cup, namely the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) and the Mohun Bagan Club Ground as well as the Kalyani Municipal Stadium Ground, which has been regularly hosting national-level football matches over the past few years.
The Durand Cup is unique in the sense the winners are awarded three trophies with two rolling ones (the Durand Cup and the Shimla Trophy) and the President’s Cup for permanent keeping.
The inaugural edition of the tournament was held 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.