KOLKATA, India — The organizers of the Durand Cup — the oldest club football tournament in Asia — officially confirmed the eastern Indian city, Kolkata, as the home of the match for the subsequent five editions.
The announcement confirming the City of Joy as hosts were made at Kolkata’s Fort William during the unveiling of the iconic Durand Cup trophies in the presence of Aroop Biswas (Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs, Power in the Govt. of West Bengal) and Lt. General Kamal Repswal (Chief of Staff, HQ Eastern Command, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal).
Aroop Biswas clarified attendance norms for the 130th Durand Cup and said that there would be minimal attendance in the stands at the beginning of the tournament, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The West Bengal Govt. has allowed 50 percent capacity inside stadiums, but the Durand Cup tournament committee has decided to allow minimal attendance in light of the pandemic,” he said.
“Then gradually towards the end of the tournament, if everything goes well, we will allow 50 percent attendance in compliance with government norms during the latter stages.”
On the other hand, General Repswal (Chief of Staff, HQ Eastern Command, SM, VSM) confirmed Kolkata as the home of the Durand Cup until 2025.
“The 129th edition of the Durand Cup was held in Kolkata in 2019,” he said.
“The kind of response the tournament got in Kolkata was immense, with a 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 be pleased happy to know that for the next five years, Durand Cup will be conducted in Kolkata.”
Repswal confirmed that the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, would be in attendance for the inauguration and opening match of the 130th Durand Cup on September 5 at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati 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 third 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. They will be playing again to retain the title.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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