Monday, February 17, 2020

Federation Cup: The First Official Knockout Tournament in India

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Federation Cup was the first official and the most prestigious knockout tournament in India that started in the year 1977. The All India Football Federation, the governing body of football India thought that top teams from all the states of India should get to participate and hence decided to start the Federation cup. During the early twentieth century, sixty-seven teams took part in the tournament making it the largest tournament in the history of Indian football. Until 2017 it became the de facto league tournament of the country after Hero I-League. The Federation Cup was held annually at various locations.

The Experimental Changes in Rules of Federation Cup

Till a proper format of the Federation Cup was decided over the years, a lot of experiments and changes took place in the rules and regulations. Till 1987, the cup had double legged semifinals. This rule was changed and the tradition of the single decisive match began in 1988 when Delhi hosted the Federation Cup for the first time. In 1990, when the tournament was played at Thrissur, the format was revamped and double legged semi-finals were played. In 1995, the tournament had a format similar to the ISL (League-cum-knockout) basis. After this, the All India Football Federation was able to rope in good sponsors for the tournament and IMG became their marketing partner, with the help of this move, the tournament got more structured just like the FA Cup of England.

Kolkata Teams: The King of Federation Cup

The first season of the Federation Cup was won by Bangalore team the Indian telephone Industries in the year 1977. But, in the 1977 and 1979 seasons, none of the three main football clubs from Kolkata were able to participate due to problems going on with the Assam area of West Bengal. But, after that, the Kolkata clubs have established their rule on the field during the Federation cup. The most favorite among them is the Mohun Bagan team, who has won the Cup title 14 times, followed by East Bengal 8 times and Mohammedan sporting club twice. The Kolkata derby match happened six times during the tournament till now. The two rivals were also the joint champions in the year 1978 and 1980. 

Winners of the Federation Cup Tournaments

Until the Hero Super Cup succeeded the Federation Cup in the year 2017, the Federation Cup was one of the most important football tournaments played in India. Let us see the Result of Federation Cup tournaments that were held yearly.

YearsWinnersRunner’s upScore
1977-1978ITI BangaloreMohun Bagan1-0
1978-1979Mohun Bagan, East Bengal joint Winners
0-0
1979-1980BSFMafatlal Mills2-2, 3-0
1980-1981Mohun Bagan, East Bengal joint Winners
1-1
1981-1982Mohun BaganMohammedan2-0
1982-1983Mohun BaganMafatlal Mills1-0
1983-1984MohammedanMohun Bagan0-0,2-0
1985East BengalMohun Bagan 1-0
1986-1987Mohun BaganEast Bengal0-0 (a.e.t) 5-4 (pen)
1987-1988Mohun BaganSalgaocar2-0
1988-1989SalgaocarBSF1-0
1989-1990SalgaocarMohammedan Sporting2-1(a.e.t)
1990Kerala PoliceSalgaocar2-1
1991Kerala PoliceMahindra & Mahindra2-0 (a.e.t)
1992Mohun BaganEast Bengal 2-0
1993Mohun BaganMahindra & Mahindra1-0
1994Mohun BaganSalgaocar0-0(a.e.t) (3-0 pen)
1995JCTEast Bengal1-1(a.e.t) (7-6 pen)
1995-1996JCT East Bengal1-1(a.e.t)(5-3 pen)
1996East BengalDempo2-1
1997SalgaocarEast Bengal2-1
1998Mohun BaganEast Bengal2-1
1999Not held

2000Not held

2001Mohun BaganDempo2-1
2002Not held

2003Mahindra UnitedMohammedan Sporting1-0
2004DempoMohun Bagan2-0
2005Mahindra UnitedSporting Goa2-1
2006Mohun BaganSporting Goa3-1
2007East BengalMahindra United2-1
2008Mohun BaganDempo1-0
2009-2010East BengalShillong Lajong0-0(a.e.t), 3-0(pen)
2010East BengalMohun Bagan1-0
2011SalgaocarEast Bengal3-1
2012East BengalDempo3-2 (a.e.t)
2013-2014Churchill BrothersSporting Goa3-1
2014-2015Bengaluru FCDempo2-1
2015-2016Mohun BaganAizawl5-0
2016-2017Bengaluru FC Mohun Bagan2-0 (a.e.t)

Problems for the Tournament

As soon as the contract with IMG ended, it took with itself the golden days of the Federation Cup. The tournament was not held for two years after 1999. Efforts to re-establish the tournament happened in the year 2001. The tournament was not held in 2002, but from 2003 onwards, the tournament was played regularly till 2017, after which the successor Hero Super Cup was established. 

The future of the Federation Cup is still not clear, but, the news is coming that AIFF may think of reviving back the tournament. 

So, this is all the information we have about the Federation Cup. If you think we have missed some points then do let us know in the comment section as we would like to cover that part too.

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