India´s oldest football tournament is among the world oldest and started by Sir Henry Mortimer Durand
The Durand Football Tournament is the oldest Football competition in the world and is oldest in Asia and India. The tournament was started at Simla in the year 1888 by Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, who was then, the Foreign Secretary to Govt. of India.
The winning team walks away with three trophies. The Durand Cup and Simla Trophy are Rolling Trophies while The President´s Cup, first presented by Dr. Rajender Prasad, is given to the team permanently.
Due to World War-I the tournament was suspended in 1914 and was revived in the year 1921 and continued as an All India Inter Regt Football Competition till 1939 at Shimla.
In 1940 the Durand Committee decided to hold the tournament at Delhi and civil teams were also given permission to participate. That year Mohammedan Sporting Club won the tournament to record the first ever victory by a civilian team and lifted the coveted trophy.
With the outbreak of World War-II, the Durand Committee decided to suspend the tournament during the period of war again.
Post 1947, there was pressure to shift the tournament to Lahore as it was claimed by Pakistan. After the intervention of three Service Chief´s and Defense Secretary the move was resisted. And in 1950 the tournament began again and HQ Delhi Area has the privilege to organize and conduct this historic tournament every year. This has been done successfully by the formation ever since.
The main aim of Durand is to promote football in the country by conducting Durand Football Tournament annually. The tournament is open to all club teams in the country and conducted under the aegis of All India Football Federation. Durand Tournament emerged as the most prestigious tournament in the country along with IFA Shield of Calcutta and Rovers Football Tournament of Mumbai.
Amongst these tournaments, Durand Cup has maintained its original character vision and prestige. The support of the AIFF, Sports Ministry Govt. of India and the three services has been most forthcoming.
The tournament is conducted in two phases i.e. Knockout and Quarter final phase. Currently, 16 teams participate in Knockout phase. National I-League Teams are seeded directly in this Round and Services Football Champion is also seeded directly to quarter final round. The tournament is conducted over eighteen days.