History of Durand Cup
The Tournament is named after its founder, Sir Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary in charge of India from 1884 to 1894. At that time, he was recuperating from illness at hill station of British India, Shimla in northern India. Having understood the value of sport as a means to maintain health, he decided to present a prize to encourage sporting competition in India. At first it was effectively an Army Cup, and largely the preserver of the British Indian Army troops in India, but over the years it widened its appeal and opened up to civilian teams, until it became a more open and conventional sporting contest.
Durand Tournament during British Era
Initially, Durand tournament was meant for only military affairs. It was open to British army, Indian army and other units of Indian military. After the Second World War, the British left India and so the tournament was opened to all non-military teams as well.
Durand Cup In the Post Independence Era
Since Independence, Mohun Bagan Club has achieved the honor of owning the cup for highest times. Mohun Bagan won sixteen times while East Bengal became the champion for fifteen times. The Durand Cup tournament is hosted by the army and is held at the Ambedkar stadium in Delhi. Durand Cup was won mostly by the teams of Calcutta (Mohun Bagan and East Bengal) or Punjab (Border Security Force and JCT Mills). In the year 1997 FC Kochin from the South won. In 1998 and 2002, a team from Mumbai (Mahindra and Mahindra) and Mahindra United won the title, while in the year 1999 and 2003 Goan team Salgaocar won the trophy twice. In 2006 Goa's Dempo S.C, beat JCT in 2-0 in the finals.
Improvement in Durand Tournament Management
India's Armed Forces deserve credit for keeping the Durand Cup tradition alive over the decades. In 2006, Osians, the art house, took over the running and management of the Durand Cup. Since then prize money, TV coverage and the quality of the football souvenirs have improved dramatically. Durand Cup is now one of the leading prizes in Indian football. The Army presence is maintained by the participation of several military teams, including an Army XI, which won the competition in 2005.