The Fall and Rise: It’s the Journey of Football in India

Are you a football lover? Then this is the article of your interest. Do you want to know the history of India in football? Our sports enthusiast and content writer Priyanshi Pareek has got it summed up in this article.


British soldiers introduced football into India in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1872, Calcutta FC was the first football club to be established. 

Tournaments like the Gladstone Cup, the Trades Cup and the Cooch Behar Cup were started around this time. The Durand Cup and IFA Shield were both started in the late nineteenth century.

The first Indian team to achieve success was Sovabazar Club, which won the Trades Cup in 1892.

One of the most remarkable achievements in Indian football history occurred in 1951 when the Indian national team triumphed at the Asian Games in New Delhi.

India first took part in Olympic soccer in 1948. 

In between the two Olympics, in 1950, India received an invitation from Brazil to take part in the World Cup. India failed to accept the invitation and since then has never been a part of the tournament. 

Even for the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, an invitation was extended to India. True to form, our football authorities returned the entry form after the date of submission. Consequently, India was not allowed to participate in the tournament. The lackadaisical approach of the football administrators continues even today.

Politics and Suspension 

On August 22, the Supreme Court is due to hear a case related to the All India Football Federation (AIFF). The hearing has assumed significance in view of AIFF’s suspension, on August 15-16, by FIFA, the sport’s premier international body, on grounds of “undue interference by a third party”.

The third party in question is a Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), which had recommended that 36 seats (or half the total strength) of the AIFF electoral college go to former players, including the likes of former India captain Baichung Bhutia and Vijayan.

On August 6, FIFA wrote to the Indian sports ministry to clarify that it was not opposed to player representation, but in the interest of the state bodies (who comprise the AIFF general assembly), mandatory player representation should be restricted to 25 per cent of the electoral college. It also issued a note of caution: by upending the current order of things ahead of AIFF elections, due on August 28, India was risking a suspension and related consequences.

The man Behind Success 

The man of the hour, the “bhai” of Indian football, Captain Fantastic. Anything said about football legend Sunil Chhetri would not come close to the actual legacy the man beholds and propels upwards each passing day. 

The captain who filled an entire stadium with just a video. Not many football players have that kind of accolade to their names.

Indian football has witnessed a remarkable transformation in recent years, with significant milestones and achievements contributing to the steady rise of the sport in the country.

From winning the Intercontinental Cup in 2023 to qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup to be held in 2024, Indian football is making its presence felt.

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