Santosh Trophy: Factfile

Ahead of the 63rd edition of the Santosh Trophy which starts from 24th May,'s Amoy Ghoshal brings to your notice a few facts and figures on the competition.
1. The Santosh Trophy is an annual football competition which is contested by all the states and government institutions which are affiliated member associations of the AIFF. Unlike other competitions in India, this tournament doesn’t feature the clubs.

2. The first edition of the Santosh Trophy took place in 1941 whereas the Federation Cup began in 1977 and I-League which was previously called the National Football League started in 1996. So till the introduction of the Federation Cup and the league, Santosh Trophy used to be the premier national competition in the Indian football circuit.

3. The winners trophy is named after the late Maharaja Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhury of Santosh (now in Bangladesh), who was the president of the IFA (Indian Football Association), the parent body of Bengal football. The IFA had donated this trophy in memory of their former president.The runner-up trophy is called the Kamla Gupta Trophy which was donated by former IFA President late Dr. S.K. Gupta in memory of his wife.

4. The first edition of the Santosh Trophy was held in Delhi and won by Bengal who defeated the hosts 5-1 in the final. Last season it was held in Jammu and Kashmir and won by Punjab who defeated Services 1-0 in the final.

5. Bengal have won the competition a record 29 times and have been finished runner up 11 times, which is also a record. But their last triumph came in 1999, which was the last of their six consecutive triumphs from 93-99. They also won it five years in a row from 76-80.

6. Other than Bengal there have been 11 different winners. Defending champions Punjab have won it eight times while Kerala have triumphed five times. Tamil Nadu is the only team who has been in the final but has never won the competition.

7. Goa have won it four times and share the history of contesting four consecutive finals with the same opponent, Bengal from 96-99, losing all four of them. The two teams are also part of the only final when the trophy was shared. This happened in the 82-83 season when the final and the replay between these two powerhouses ended in goalless draws.  

8. This year’s tournament will be held in Tamil Nadu in four different venues with 31 teams participating. Tamil Nadu will be hosting the competition for the tenth time with Kerala holding the record of staging it the most number (11) of times.  

9. Players who are bonafide permanent residents or born within the jurisdiction of a State Association will be eligible to represent that association. Alternately a player will be allowed to play for some other association if he has not been registered with the association in which he is a permanent resident or in which, he is born.

10. The format has been changed many times over the years. This season the four semi finalists (Punjab, Services, West Bengal and Karnataka) from the last edition have direct entry into the quarterfinal league round. While 27 other teams are divided into eight clusters. The eight cluster winners will be brought down to four in the pre-quarter final stage which will be one off knockout matches. The four from that list will join the four already qualified teams in the quarterfinal round. The eight teams will be divided into two groups, with the two group winners and runner-ups qualifying for the semis. The semis and final will also be held in the knockout format.

Amoy Ghoshal