Thinley Namgay

The 2020 edition of the oldest football tournament in the country, the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial Gold Cup, will not go ahead as scheduled due to the ongoing tensions in the region from the outbreak of Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) cancelled the tournament after the health ministry asked the federation to extend the tournament until the situation gets better.

BFF organises the tournament every year in collaboration with Phuentsholing Sports Association.

A total of 10 teams had registered for the knockout tournament which otherwise would have kicked off on  February 12, at the Phuentsholing Sports Association ground. BFF planned to play the final game coinciding with the birth anniversary of His Majesty The King on February 21.

Nepal’s Gorkha Boys Sporting Club, Jaigaon’s Youth Sports Club, Gokulam FC from Kerala, Manipur’s NESU Club, United Brothers FC from Kalimpong, and Delhi’s Sudeva Moonlight FC are the six International teams registered for the tournament.

Defending Champions Paro FC, Thimphu City FC, Ugyen Academy FC, and Phuentsholing Sports Association team represents Bhutan.

The participating team decreased this year compared with the 12 teams every year. Druk United FC and Transport United FC withdrew after registration.

 BFF allows top five teams from the Bhutan Premier League to take part in the tournament and the PSA team gets a chance for being the host.   

The proximity of Phuentsholing to the border town of India and the gathering of spectators from across the border during the game are issues cited by BFF officials for cancelling the tournament.

BFF’s Competition Officer, Kinley Dorji said that the tournament was expected to resume next month.  

BFF allowed the teams to participate in the tournament without an entry fee.

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial Gold Cup, Bhutan Premier League, Bhutan Super league and National Women’s league are the major football events organised by BFF every year.

The tournament started in 1975.