Durand Cup will be a success even sans sponsor: Organisers

Durand Cup will be a success even sans sponsor: Organisers

The third oldest football tournament in Asia, the Durand Cup might have suffered a rude setback after one of its main sponsors backed out, but the organisers, the Defence Services said that they will leave no stone unturned to make the event a grand success.

The main sponsor, Micromax, who promised Rs 35.5 lakh in writing, backed out in the last moment, citing over-spending in the recently held five-match ODI cricket series between India and Sri Lanka as the reason.

But president of the Durand Football Tournament Society, Lt Gen V K Pillay is confident of pulling off the event successfully.

"We tried to rope in new sponsors but very few were interested. So, we were left with no other option but to conduct it on our own. But take my words, the Delhi area of the
Armed forces are capable enough to conduct the tournament successfully," Lt Gen Pillay, who is also the General Commanding Officer of the Delhi Area, told reporters here today.

"Sponsors' interest depends on the popularity of the game, but this year the tournament
will be conducted more beautifully and meticulously," he added.

Lack of sponsors has also forced the organisers of Asia's oldest football tournament to reduce the overall budget, which was a whopping Rs 1.54 crore last year.

In the 125th edition of the tournament this year, the total prize money on offer is Rs 20 lakh -- winners will get Rs 10 lakh, while runners-up Rs 5 lakh and semi-finalists Rs 2.5 lakh each. Whereas last year, the winner alone took home Rs 20 lakh, runners-up got Rs 10 lakh and semi-finalists received Rs 5 lakh each.

The Durand Cup will be held in two phases -- knock-out stage, which has already started from August 16 and quarter-final league round, which will commence on August 23.

In the knock-out round, 16 teams are fighting for three places up for grabs in the quarter-final league stage.

In the quarter-final league round, it will be a 12-team affair -- eight I-League teams (Pune FC, Air India, HAL, Pailan Arrows, Sporting Club de Goa, ONGC, Dodsal Mumbai and Sesa de Goa), three qualifying teams from knock-out round and one services team.

The tournament will be played at the Ambedkar Stadium here with the final scheduled for September 1.

Lt Gen Pillay said that a clash of dates with the Nehru Cup and Federation Cup also did not help their cause.

"There was also a clash of dates with the Federation Cup and Nehru Cup, which was unavoidable. But next year we will ensure that such a thing doesn't happen," he said.

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