Durand Cup, which is Asia’s oldest and world’s third oldest cup competition, will be held in Kolkata for the very first time in the tournament’s history.
On why the tournament is being organised in Kolkata, Lt. Gen. RP Kalita said, “We wanted to rechristen the tournament and make it a pan India affair this time and bring it to Kolkata because it is the Mecca of Indian football. So to make it more attractive we took a gap of three seasons.”
Durand Cup is taking place after a gap of three years. The last edition was held in 2016 which was won by Army Green who defeated NEROCA FC in the final.
Lt. Gen. Kalita further mentioned that Star Network will broadcast the tournament and will telecast the final and semifinals of the tournament Live. The tournament committee in the meantime is trying to get DD on board to telecast the rest of the games.
Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj had expressed his displeasure on social media a couple of weeks back on not getting invited for the prestigious Durand.
Lt. Gen. Kalita clarified the issue by saying, “I spoke to Mr Bajaj. They were 10th in the I-League table last season. We were initially planning to get the top 6 teams from the I-League. As Real Kashmir was taking part in the tournament, to give a pan India approach we had contacted Kerala Blasters but when they said they were unavailable we got in touch with Gokulam Kerala as we wanted a club from Kerala to come. I had told this to Ranjit Bajaj and he was satisfied after that.”
It was also announced that the tournament winners will receive a cash price of INR 40 Lakh. The runners-up will receive INR 20 Lakh and the two semifinalists will receive INR 5 Lakh each.
Durand Cup started in 1888 as an Army Cup but was later opened for others as well. Kolkata’s Mohammedan Sporting was the first Indian club to win the tournament in 1940. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are the most successful teams in the history of the competition, winning it 16 times each.