The Durand Cup is one of the most prestigious football competitions held in India. Here are some interesting facts about this illustrious tournament:
1. Durand Cup is the oldest football tournament in Asia.
2. It was first held in the year 1888 at Shimla.
3. The tournament is named after its founder, Sir Mortimer Durand.
He was the Foreign Secretary in charge of India from 1884 to 1894.
4. While recovering from an illness, Sir Mortimer Durand realized the value of sports and decided to present a reward in order to encourage sports in India.
5. In its initial years, the Durand Cup was basically contested by various teams from the British Indian Army.
6. The Durand Cup is believed to be the third oldest football tournament in the world.
7. Most of the British Indian Army personnel initially preferred Hockey over Football, but not the Gorkhas; they took active part in this competition.
8. The Durand Cup was put off twice due to the World Wars.
9. Following India’s independence, the tournament was opened to non-military teams.
10. Several teams from the Indian Army, including the Army IX, still take part in this eminent tournament.
11. A predecessor of the Durand Cup was played in 1887 in which Sir Mortimer Durand himself captained the runners-up team.
12. The inaugural final of the Durand Cup was won by the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
13. After the independence of India, there was heavy pressure to move the tournament to Lahore in Pakistan.
Fortunately, the move was resisted and the tournament was shifted to Delhi.
14. The winner of the Durand Cup gets three trophies, namely The Durand Cup, Shimla Trophy and The President’s Cup.
15. The President’s Cup was first presented by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and is given to the winning team permanently.
16. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, each with 16 Durand Cup wins are the most successful teams of this competition.
17. The Indian Army passed the actual running of the tournament to Osians, the art house in 2006.
18. The tournament is conducted in two phases, i.e., Knockout and Quarter Final phase, over a period of 20 days.
19. Top 9 teams of i- league and the Services Champion directly qualify for the Quarter Final phase, whereas 20 other teams have to go through the knockout phase from which two teams are selected.
20. Mohun Bagan also won the title in year 2000, the new millennium.
21. In 1997, FC Kochin became the first team from the south to win the Durand Cup.
22. Salgaocar FC is the reigning champions of The Durand Cup.
During its 127-year-old history, the Durand Cup has faced many highs and lows. Nevertheless it still remains one of the most celebrated football competitions in India.