Durand Cup, Asia’s oldest football competition, is set to make its return after a three-year absence with its 129th edition. The tournament, which will be held from August 2-24, is back with 16 competing teams, six from Indian Super League and six from I-League and four from the Defence services.
Making its return for the first time since Army Green defeated NEROCA FC to lift the trophy back in 2016, Durand Cup will be held outside its traditional home (Delhi). The matches will be played across three locations in West Bengal – Kolkata, Siliguri and Kalyani.
City rivals Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting Club will kickstart tournament in the opening fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. The final, which will be held on August 24, will also be held at the same venue.
A minimum of 22 and a maximum of 27 players will be allowed in each squad. They can have a maximum of four foreigners, but no more than three can be onfield during a match.
Forget I-League. Forget ISL. Durand Cup is going to be the best domestic tournament of 2019-20@WestBlockBlues in @MohunBagan Ground as @bengalurufc take on @JamshedpurFC, @ATKFC against @MDSCOfficial & @Mohun_Bagan…
A look at what #indianfootball without walls looks like… pic.twitter.com/FOvBSTe6VQ
— Chiranjit Ojha (@ChiranjitOjha) July 8, 2019
Bengaluru FC, East Bengal, Jamshedpur FC, Army Red
Mohun Bagan, Navy, Mohammedan Sporting Club, ATK
Chennai City FC, Real Kashmir FC, FC Goa, Army Green
Gokulam Kerala FC, Chennaiyin FC, TRAU FC, Air Force
After the group stages, the winners of each group will progress into the semi-finals. The winner of Group A will face the winner of Group D, and the winner of Group B will face the winner of Group C in the semi-final.
The knockout matches will have thirty minutes of extra-time if the teams are tied at the end of usual time, and if they are drawing even after that, the winner of the fixture will be decided through penalty shootouts.
The tournament, first held in 1888, has been brought back after consultations between All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL), who have also engaged in talks to revive traditional football tournaments like IFA Shield in the future.