New Delhi: In an official release, the officials of the 130th Durand Cup have confirmed the groups and fixtures of the tournament. Durand Cup is Asia's oldest football tournament.
The matches of the tournament will be played in and around Kolkata from September 5, 2021, to October 3, 2021. The tournament is to begin at 3 pm on all days till the quarter-final stage. However, the tournament will begin at 4:15 pm on its opening day. The timings of the semi-final and final matches have not been confirmed yet.
The tournament will be played by 16 teams across four groups. The Indian Armed Force and the Government of West Bengal have jointly organized the tournament.
Durand Cup is held between 16 top football clubs of India across divisions. The most successful teams to have played in this prestigious tournament are Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, each winning 16 times.
The first Indian winners of the Durand Cup, Mohammedan Sporting Club from Kolkata have been put into Group A alongside Bengaluru United, the Indian Air Force Football Team, and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The opening match of the tournament will be played between the Indian Air Force Football Team and Mohammedan SC of Group A fixture.
In Group B, 2016 Durand Cup winners Army Green Football Team has been put alongside Indian Super League (ISL) side FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC, and I-League side Sudeva Deva SC.
Bengaluru Football Club and Kerela Blasters Football Club have been put into group C. The two ISL sides will be playing against Delhi FC and the Indian Navy football team. This will also mark the debut of Kerela Blasters in the Durand Cup tournament.
Assam Rifles Football Team and Army Red Football Team have been put in Group D. The two teams will lock horns with ISL side Hyderabad FC and Gokulam Kerela Football Club, who are the reigning champions of Durand Club and I-League.
The top two groups from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals. The semi-final matches will be held on 27th and 29th September. The final match is scheduled for 3rd October.
The venues for this year's tournament are Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), Kalyani Municipality Stadium, and Mohun Bagan Club Ground, as per sources.
Durand Cup is organized annually in India and was first started by Sir Mortimer Durand at Shimla in 1888. It is the oldest football tournament in India and also the 3rd oldest professional club football tournament in the world. In the last Durand Cup tournament in 2019, Gukulam Kerela FC took the trophy home by defeating Mohun Bagan in the finals.