Photos: Barefoot, for the love of football at Independence Day Cup

Popularly known as Mini World Cup, the Independence Day Cup in Bengaluru gave rise to barefoot football in India, surging in popularity during the 1950s with players foregoing cleats and any fixed prize money.

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST 9 Photos
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Post India’s withdrawal from the FIFA soccer world cups in the early 1950s, local youths of Bengaluru started a barefoot football tournament called the Independence Cup with seven players a side to celebrate freedom from the British Raj. Since then the tournament has been a tradition with as many as 96 teams participating in a year. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

Post India’s withdrawal from the FIFA soccer world cups in the early 1950s, local youths of Bengaluru started a barefoot football tournament called the Independence Cup with seven players a side to celebrate freedom from the British Raj. Since then the tournament has been a tradition with as many as 96 teams participating in a year. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST
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Every year the East Indian Sports Club organises the Independence Day Cup at Bengaluru East stadium from the last week of July till 15th of August. Matches are 20 minutes a half which often attract huge turn outs irrespective of age. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

Every year the East Indian Sports Club organises the Independence Day Cup at Bengaluru East stadium from the last week of July till 15th of August. Matches are 20 minutes a half which often attract huge turn outs irrespective of age. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST
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Popularly known as the Mini-World Cup, there were days when players like Babu Mani and Carlton Chapman played in this tournament. The International players earn approximately ₹5000 per match with the Indian players earning between ₹3000 to ₹4000. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

Popularly known as the Mini-World Cup, there were days when players like Babu Mani and Carlton Chapman played in this tournament. The International players earn approximately ₹5000 per match with the Indian players earning between ₹3000 to ₹4000. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST
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Usman from West Africa prepares for a match against a local team during Independence Day Cup at Bengaluru east Stadium. With only socks and anklet braces on their feet, the players throng to the field often risking their health. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

Usman from West Africa prepares for a match against a local team during Independence Day Cup at Bengaluru east Stadium. With only socks and anklet braces on their feet, the players throng to the field often risking their health. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST
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Jerseys and kit equipment being given to players before a match during the Independence Day Cup. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

Jerseys and kit equipment being given to players before a match during the Independence Day Cup. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST
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There are no trophies or prize money for the winners of the tournament as players mostly compete out of a passion for barefoot football. Over the years, the tournament gained huge popularity with more than 96 teams participating in a particular year. However, this year due to time constraints the tournament saw participation from just 46 teams. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

There are no trophies or prize money for the winners of the tournament as players mostly compete out of a passion for barefoot football. Over the years, the tournament gained huge popularity with more than 96 teams participating in a particular year. However, this year due to time constraints the tournament saw participation from just 46 teams. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST
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A spectator with his face painted to resemble the Indian tricolour during Independence Day Cup in Bengaluru. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

A spectator with his face painted to resemble the Indian tricolour during Independence Day Cup in Bengaluru. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST
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With none of the teams willing to cede ground, the most interesting part of the tournament are bizarre disputes with some lasting longer than the duration of a single match. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

With none of the teams willing to cede ground, the most interesting part of the tournament are bizarre disputes with some lasting longer than the duration of a single match. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST
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People from all walks of life gather during the Sunday matches of Independence Day Cup at Bengaluru East Stadium in Bengaluru. Independence Day Cup is a barefoot football tournament with a history of 61 years. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

People from all walks of life gather during the Sunday matches of Independence Day Cup at Bengaluru East Stadium in Bengaluru. Independence Day Cup is a barefoot football tournament with a history of 61 years. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2017 11:02 AM IST
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