Durand Cup to be held in Kolkata for next five years, 50 pc capacity on the cards for 2021 edition

Kolkata is the home of the Durand Cup until 2025.

Kolkata has been now officially confirmed as the home of the Durand Cup – the oldest club football tournament in Asia, for the next five editions. Addressing the media at Fort William during the unveiling of the iconic Durand Cup trophies, Lt General Kamal Repswal (Chief of Staff, HQ Eastern Command) made the announcement confirming the City of Joy as hosts.

“The 129th edition of the Durand Cup was held in Kolkata in 2019. The kind of response the tournament got in Kolkata was immense, with tremendous amount of support from the state government. I must mention it because every department of the state govt. went out of their way to ensure the tournament becomes a success.

“You will all be very happy to know that for the next five years, Durand Cup will be conducted in Kolkata.”

Aroop Biswas (Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs of West Bengal) clarified attendance norms for the 130th Durand Cup and mentioned that there will be minimal attendance in the stands at the beginning of the tournament, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The WB Govt. has allowed 50% capacity inside stadiums but the Durand Cup tournament committee, in light of the pandemic, has decided to allow minimal attendance and then gradually towards the end of the tournament, if everything goes well, we will allow 50% attendance in compliance with government norms during the latter stages”, he said.

Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, will be in attendance for the inauguration and opening match of the 130th Durand Cup on September 5 at Vivekananda Yubabharati Krirangan (VYBK).

Only behind the English FA Cup and Scottish Cup (starting in 1871 and 1874 respectively) in terms of inception, the first-ever Durand Cup took place in 1888 – making it the oldest-running club football tournament in the world, and the oldest-running football tournament in Asia.

In the previous 129th edition, held for the first time in the city, Gokulam Kerala emerged champions, beating Mohun Bagan 2-1 in front of a packed stadium, to register their first silverware in club history.

The Teams

A total of 16 teams are vying for the 130th Durand Cup Champions title and besides the defending champions, ISL franchise Kerala Blasters are the second team from the southernmost State known for its football fanaticism.

The ISL is represented with Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC joining the Blasters.

The century-old Mohammedan Sporting, the tournament’s first Indian winner, will represent the local challenge along with fellow I-Leaguers Sudeva FC of Delhi and Gokulam Kerala.

A second team from Delhi and Bengaluru, Delhi FC and Bengaluru United bring up the second division challenge while the Army also has two teams in the form of Army Green and Army Red.

The Indian Air Force, The Indian Navy, The Assam Rifles and CRPF are the other four teams in the tournament to be played from September 5-October 3, 2021.

A Rich Heritage

Traditionally organized by the Indian Army on behalf of our Armed Forces, this year onwards the Government of West Bengal will join as joint-hosts. Shimla served as hosts in the earlier years of the Durand Cup before the tournament shifted base to New Delhi in 1940. In 2019 however, the tournament returned after a three-year absence but to its newest home – Kolkata.

The Venues

Three leading footballing venues of the State have been identified for the 130th Durand Cup, namely the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) and the Mohun Bagan Club Ground in Kolkata as well as the Kalyani Municipal Stadium Ground, which has been regularly hosting national level football matches over the past few years.

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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