Guwahati and Imphal will play host to this year’s Durand Cup along with Kolkata, which will begin from August 16.
The organising committee of the Durand Cup on July 16 announced that the football tournament will enter Assam and Manipur for the first time with its 131st edition.
The Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata will host the final on September 18.
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.
This year, the number of participating teams have increased from 16 to 20.
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 governments.”
“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.
The Durand Cup is the oldest existing club football tournament in Asia and third oldest in the world.