The Hero Senior NFC for Santosh Trophy is the premier Men’s National Football Championship of India. It was started in 1941 and was named after Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhary of Santosh, the then president of the Indian Football Association.
All affiliated State Associations of AIFF are eligible to participate in this championship through the qualifying round which is played across the country. Winners from each group from the five zones (North, South, East, West, North-east), qualify to the final round which is hosted in a central venue awarded to each zone on a rotational basis with either of the two qualified teams from the zone winning the right to host the finals. Following the group phase, top two teams from each group qualify to the final round where the teams are again split into two groups of five teams each. The top two teams from each qualify for the semi-finals and the winners contest in the Final for the silverware.