Tuesday 21 November 2017

Blackburn owners Venky's admit a fifth of the squad likely to leave after relegation from Premier League

BLACKBURN’S unpopular Indian owners have revealed up to a fifth of the squad could leave following relegation from the Premier League - and they will not stand in the way of players asking for transfers.

"We cannot hold back players. Those who want to leave may do so," director B. Balaji Rao told the Times of India, amid speculation that senior players such as goalkeeper Paul Robinson and midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen are set to leave.

"But let me tell you, 80 per cent of the players want to stay."

Rao also stressed that owners Venky's, a family-owned chicken farm operator, are "here for the long-haul", dismissing speculation they are looking to offload the club.

"Me, my brother Venkatesh and my sister (Anuradha Desai), our entire family, have fallen in love with the club. We cannot sell it," he said.

"We were certainly not expecting to be relegated. It was the saddest bit of news for me since my mother passed away. But we will bounce back within a year."

Rao echoed comments by his brother, and fellow Blackburn director, Venkatesh, who said on Thursday that fans are entitled to be critical of the owners.

"I can understand that the fans will be upset with the relegation. We, the owners, sympathise," he said, adding that "there will be a lot of changes in the near future."

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