The Durand Cup, the oldest non-UK football trophy, is possibly one of the most iconic objects in our collection and it is currently on loan to the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich!
Worried that the British soldiers in India were becoming fat and unfit, Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, civil servant and Foreign Secretary of India from 1884-94, decided to present a prize to encourage sporting competition among the British army units in India.
Curiously, our two antecedent regiments were in the first final in 1888 – The Royal Scots Fusiliers (RSF) beating The Highland Light Infantry (HLI) 2-1. However, the HLI were to go on to win the cup five times in all – three times in a row – and were thus allowed to retain the cup in 1895 when they beat The Somerset Light Infantry 1-0.
Following India’s independence in 1947, the tournament was hosted by the Indian Army, with Durand Football Tournament Society being headed by three Service Chiefs. The competition has only been suspended twice during the two world wars.
So, at the moment, our famous cup forms the centrepiece of a special exhibition in the foyer of the FIFA Museum, to celebrate India’s hosting of the Under 17s World Cup Competition for the first time.
Don’t worry if you have not seen the Durand Cup yet – it will be back on display in the RHF Museum in a month or so, along with other sporting memorabilia and other incredible exhibits – we are well worth a visit and entry is absolutely free!