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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Venky's deny rumours, will not sell EPL club Blackburn Rovers

Venky's deny rumours, will not sell EPL club Blackburn Rovers

Last updated on: May 11, 2012 10:19 IST

Indian owners Venky's will not sell relegated Blackburn Rovers and they sacked deputy chief executive Paul Hunt to cut costs, the poultry company said on Thursday.

- Confusion reigns at Venky's-owned Rovers

- No tears over Blackburn relegation

Blackburn Rover's joint owner Balaji Rao (left) and Venkatesh Rao of Venky's Ltd"It is a company of ours and there is nothing whatsoever (in rumours of a sale). These allegations are not correct," the company's joint managing director Venkateshwara Rao told Times Now channel.

Speculation that Hunt had been dismissed because of a letter he wrote calling on Venky's to sack manager Steve Kean in December was untrue, Rao said.

"The sacking was not because of that," Rao added. "Some staff have to keep the budget down. Nothing to do with it."

Blackburn were relegated from the Premier League following a 1-0 defeat by Wigan Athletic on Monday after a tumultuous season marred by fan protests prompted by the club's lack of success and unpopular moves by the owners who completed a $37-million takeover in November 2010.

Hunt's dismissal was confirmed after the letter, written when Blackburn fell to the bottom of the Premier League, was made public.

His departure adds to the sense of unease at Rovers who have lost their place among the elite for the first time in 11 years.

Rao shrugged off criticism of the owners from club supporters, saying: "Fans have the right to do whatever they want.

"It's bound to happen when somebody loses...We have to come out of this situation. Nobody is to be blamed."

The owners also said the Blackburn Rovers will instigate a number of changes in the coming months as they plan to fight their way back into the Premier League at the first attempt.

Since the Indian company's takeover, the club has struggled on the pitch, leading to regular fan protests as the 1995 Premier League champions failed to stave off the drop to the Championship.

But B Balaji Rao, a director and member of the family that owns Venky's, is confident the club will quickly return to the elite group.

"We were certainly not expecting to be relegated. It was the saddest bit of news for me since my mother passed away," Rao told Times of India newspaper on Friday.

"But we will bounce back within a year. There will be lots of changes in the near future. We will bring in changes within the next month," he said.

"In the last month, we have made the club debt-free."

Rao, however, declined to comment on manager Steve Kean's future, the newspaper said.

He reiterated the club was not up for sale and said most players were willing to help lead the club back into the top flight.

"We cannot hold back players. Those who want to leave may do so. But let me tell you, 80 percent of the players want to stay," he said.

"We are here for the long haul. We have absolutely no intentions of selling the club... our entire family has fallen in love with the club. We cannot sell it."

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