President Murmu asks stakeholders to work together to uplift Indian football

President Draupadi Murmu on Wednesday asked Indian football stakeholders to work together to uplift the sport in the country as she flagged off the trophy tour of the 100-year-old Durand Cup tournament. The 133rd season of Asia's oldest and the world's fifth oldest football tournament will begin on July 27 and will be played in four cities – Kolkata, Kokrajhar in Assam, Shillong in Meghalaya and Jamshedpur in Jharkhand.

President Murmu said in her address during the ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, “Football is the most popular sport in the world. Professional football players entertain people. Currently Euro 2024 is going on and it is being watched all over the world, it is in the news everywhere.” She said, “All the stakeholders of the country should work together for the upliftment of sports in India.”

He reminded the gathering of the contribution of the Durand Cup to the country's football tradition, named after its founder Sir Henry Mortimer Durand. Sir Henry was India's Foreign Secretary from 1884 to 1894. “It is the oldest football tournament in India and is over 135 years old,” the President said about the tournament, first held in Shimla in 1888. “India's first President Rajendra Prasad presented the President's Cup to the Durand Cup winners in 1950,” he said.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Anil Chauhan, Chief of Army Staff Gen Manoj Pandey and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Dinesh Kumar Tripathi were also present when President Murmu unveiled the trophies. The Durand Cup is organised by the Indian Army on behalf of the three services and under the aegis of the All India Football Federation. After the first season was held in Shimla, the tournament was held in New Delhi from 1940 to 2016.

The tournament moved to the eastern part of the country in 2019 where Kolkata became its host. The upcoming tournament will be held from July 27 to August 31 with 24 teams participating which will be divided into six groups. Eight teams – the top team in the group and the two best second-placed teams will qualify for the knockout stage. Bangladesh and Bhutan Army teams are also participating in the tournament. The final will be held at Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata.

Indian Super League team Mohun Bagan Super Giants are the defending champions of the tournament having defeated Kolkata rivals East Bengal 1-0 in the final of the 2023 season of the tournament. Indian football has been in a state of turmoil for the past few weeks. The team failed to qualify for the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers which led to the sacking of coach Igor Stimac.

Disclaimer: Sarkari Result Daily has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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