New Delhi [India], July 10 (ANI): President Droupadi Murmu unveiled the prestigious Durand Cup, the President's Cup and Shimla Trophy at Rasthrapati Bhavan on Wednesday.

The 133rd edition of the Durand Cup football tournament, the season opener of Indian Football, will kick off on July 27 with the final scheduled for August 31.

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Taking to X, the official handle of the President said, "President Droupadi Murmu unveiled and flagged off the Durand Cup, the President's Cup and Shimla Trophy at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The President said that football is one of the most popular sports in the world. All football lovers should make efforts to raise the level of football in India."

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The schedule of the tournament was announced by HQ Eastern Command of the Indian Army, on behalf of the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS), which shall organise this year's edition of Asia's oldest football tournament.

Two new cities, Jamshedpur and Shillong, have been added as host cities this year. Kokrajhar in Assam shall be playing host for the second consecutive year, besides Kolkata, which has been a host for the last five years of the tournament.

The 133rd edition will see 24 teams with representation from the widest possible spectrum of Indian football, like the Indian Super League, I-League and other invitational teams, as well as teams from the Armed Forces. Also, like last year, international teams are expected to participate this year too.

A total of 43 matches would be played in a round-robin league-cum-knockout format, with the finals scheduled at the iconic Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) in Kolkata. The 24 teams will be divided into six groups. A total of eight teams - group toppers and two best second-placed sides would qualify for the knockout stage.

Kolkata will host three groups while Kokrajhar, Shillong and Jamshedpur will host one group each. The three coveted Durand Trophies will be flagged off for a nationwide tour from New Delhi on July 10 before they reach Kolkata ahead of the opening game on July 27.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant are the defending champions, having won the tournament for a record 17th time, the most by any team, last year. (ANI)

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