The organising committee of the Durand Cup on Saturday announced that the football tournament will enter Assam and Manipur for the first time with its 131st edition. Besides Kolkata, Guwahati and Imphal will be the host cities for the tournament beginning on August 16.
The Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan will host the final on September 18. The number of teams have increased from 16 to 20. The Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium in Guwahati and Imphal’s Khuman Lampak stadium will be the newest tournament hosts alongside the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata and the Naihati Stadium in North 24-Paraganas district of West Bengal.
The VYBK will play host to 10 games, including the opening derby between ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, as well as all seven knockout games. Guwahati and Imphal will host one of the four groups and a total of 10 games each.
Lt. Gen. KK Repswal, who is also the chairman of the tournament organising committee, said, “We had expressed last year that we wanted to expand the reach of the Durand Cup and we are extremely happy that we have been able to achieve the same this year. It would not have been possible without the enthusiastic and proactive support of the three state govts.
“Besides the new host cities and venues, the 131st Durand Cup will see many other firsts including participation from all ISL teams, a team from Rajasthan and also for the very first time a four-city trophy tour to rev up support for the tournament and engage more fans,” he concluded.
This edition will also see the return of spectators for the entire length of the tournament for the first time post the COVID-19 pandemic.