DHARAMSALA, 1 June: The 28th edition of Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup (GCMGC/GCM) football tournament, the biggest sporting event in the Tibetan Community, kicked off at Upper TCV School today.
Hundreds of Tibetans and non-Tibetan enthusiasts of the ‘beautiful game’ attended the opening ceremony of GCMGC as the tournament returned to Dharamsala, the exile headquarters of the exiled Tibetans after 2-years. The tournament was last played here in 2019.
The president of the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) Penpa Tsering attended the opening ceremony of the 28th GCM Gold Cup as the chief guest. President Tsering commended Tenzin Samdup and some other Tibetans who play in the I-League, the second-tier men’s professional football competition of the Indian football league system for their accomplishments.
He said that though it is hard for the exiled Tibetans to make a living out of sports, he declared that they have set a great precedent for sports enthusiasts.
He further spoke about the importance of sportsmanship while calling on the participating teams for the tournament to take out their time from the tournament and visit the headquarters of the CTA and the offices of the NGOs located here in the exile headquarters of the Tibetan people.
A total of 16 teams from India, Nepal, Australia and Europe are participating in this year’s tournament.
The teams are divided into four pools, A-D for the league cum knockout tournament to be played over 1-11 June. The two teams with the most point from each pool will advance to the quarterfinal.
The final match of the GCM gold cup will be played on 11 June and the winner will take home the GCM Gold Cup and a 2 lakh prize money while the runners-up will get 1 lakh rupee.
Same as the last tournament, Kalsang Restaurant and Cafe sponsored the first Prize money(2,00,000 rupees ) for the winner while Mila Group from Delhi, Snow Region Tours & Travels and Sarang Cafe collectively sponsored the cash prize(1,50,000) for the runner-up.
The opening match of the tournament was played between TCV United FC and Varna FC. The match ended with the scoreline reading 1-3 in Varna FC’s favour.
For the sixth year in the run, the live webcast of the most popular sporting event among Tibetans in exile is available online It is being live-streamed on Tibet TV, the official channel of the Central Tibetan Administration’s WebTV Station.
There are no teams participating in the tournament from the Southern region of India for the second consecutive tournament
However, Tibet Express has learned that efforts are on by the administration to resolve the conflict.
Gonpo Dorjee, former Tibetan National teams player and the current women’s coach of Team Tibet who is also the chief coordinator of the tournament said that he received directives from above to form a commission and resolve the conflict.
As such he is of the opinion that the conflict will soon be resolved. The coordinator also revealed that it costs Tibetan National Sports Association(TNSA) around 40 lakhs to organise the tournament.
Dhondupling FC(DFC) team from Clement Town is the defending champion of the tournament.
DFC was awarded the Cup of the most popular sporting event among Tibetans in exile at an award ceremony organised at Clement Town Football ground on 1 June 2022, a week after the final match ended in controversy with the Shima FC team staging a walkout.
The 27th edition of the GCM Gold Cup football tournament was played at Paonta Cholsum Tibetan Settlement.
The GCM Gold Cup tournament is played annually in memory of the great mother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. GCM football tournament was first held in 1981.
Though the tournament was organised by various bodies for more than twenty years, Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA) took charge of organising the tournament annually since 2003.
Based on the performance in the GCM tournament, TNSA selects players for the Tibetan National Team which occasionally competes in tournaments held in India as well as foreign countries.
Following is the complete fixture of the tournament: