Asia’s oldest and the world’s third oldest football tournament The Durand Cup will return after a gap of two years.
However, in a major shift the 129th edition of the tournament will be held in three cities in West Bengal and not in Delhi where it was primarily held. In an attempt to revive the century-old tournament, the Indian Army along with the three Service chiefs will organise the Durand Cup for the first time after 2016, in which the Army Green claimed the top honours.
The matches will be staged in three cities – Kolkata, Kalyani and Siliguri – from August 2 to 24.
Kolkata venues for the tournament will be the stadiums of Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting Club and the Salt Lake Stadium. The tournament will have complete “enthusiastic” support from the state government, the online sports platform reports, sports business portal Sportskeeda has reported.
To make the edition more competitive and exciting, the organisers have decided to make it a 16-team affair. Six Indian Super League teams, 6 I-League teams and four from the Defence Services will compete. The teams will be divided into four groups of four each. Format of the tournament will be in a league cum knock-out basis.
ISL Champions Bengaluru FC confirmed to Sportskeeda that they have been invited to participate in the tournament. I-League side Gokulam Kerala FC have also issued a press release stating they have accepted the invite to play in the competition.
Royal Scouts Fusiliers won the inaugural edition of the Durand Cup back in 1888. Mohammedan Sporting Club is the first Indian club to win the silverware, in 1940, while Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are the most successful teams in the history of the Durand Cup, winning it on 16 occasions each.