Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Stafford Cup to return after three decades

Stafford Challenge Cup, perhaps the oldest national-level football tournament and the Blue Riband event football event in South India is set to make a return to Indian Football after three long decades. 

In a press conference hosted by the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA), NA Haris, Vice President, AIFF and the President of KSFA announced the revival of the historic tournament, which started in 1938 and went on till 1993.

In line with AIFF's aim to revive some heritage events, the KSFA will be organizing the Stafford Challenge Cup at the Bangalore Football Stadium from February 23, 2023, onwards. A total of 16 clubs will be invited and they will be clubbed into four groups. The four clubs in each group will play a round robin format in their respective groups and the top team in each group will qualify in the knockout semi-finals and final. The final is scheduled for March 6, 2023. 

Talking to the media, M Satayanarayan, Secretary, KSFA mentioned about tactfully utilising the period between final round of Santosh Trophy, which is ending on February 20 and I-League 2 2022-23, which is starting early March. 

“We had very less time this year, our plan is to include the Stafford Challenge Cup in the AIFF football calendar next season. This will help us in better planning to organize the event get top teams”, said Haris. 

Developmental teams from ISL and I-League like Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, Gokulam Kerala, Dempo, and Sreenidhi FC along with I League-2 participants, ARA FC from Ahmedabad, FC Bengaluru United, and Delhi FC will be seen in action.

Other teams from outside the state of Karnataka include Kenkre FC and PIFA from Maharashtra, International FC from Punjab and Kerala United. The other four local clubs from Bengaluru are Kickstart FC, Roots FC, MEG, and HAL. 

Group A Group B
  1. FC Bengaluru United
  2. MEG
  3. Dempo
  4. International FC Punjab
  1. Roots FC
  2. HAL SC
  3. Gokulam Kerala FC
  4. PIFA Sports FC
Group C Group D
  1. Bengaluru FC
  2. Kenkre FC
  3. Sreenidhi Deccan FC
  4. Delhi FC
  1. Kickstart FC
  2. Chennaiyin FC
  3. ARA FC
  4. Kerala United FC

1 comment:

  1. Great news indeed. Grew up with the most popular Stafford Cup with fantastic teams taking part. Undoubtedly, this event should capture the old glory of Bangalore football.