Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Venky's rule out Blackburn sale

Venkatesh Rao (right) and Balaji Rao

Blackburn co-owner Venkatesh Rao insists Venky's are not "fooling around" with the club and have no interest in being bought out just a year into their reign.

Middle East oil giant Qatar Petroleum have been linked with a potential takeover bid but, despite a difficult 12 months in charge, bosses at the Indian poultry firm are intent on keeping control of Rovers.

"It's not true and nothing is going to happen like that. We've had no offer and we're not interested," Rao told BBC Radio Lancashire. "We're here to stay with the club. We're not interested to give it to anybody. It's like our baby."

He added: "Money is not everything to us. The passion is there and we don't want to let the fans down. We have not come here to fool around. On a serious note, we love our company, we love our club and we love our fans."

Rao also dismissed reports manager Steve Kean, who has been the target of a number of protests by fans unhappy about results, had signed a new contract, adding: "I don't know how the news has come out but it is nothing like, nothing has been signed."

Venky's mark their first anniversary in charge this weekend but their reign has come in for increased criticism in recent months.

The club are currently next-bottom of the Barclays Premier League after taking just six points - with only one victory - from their first 11 games.

Growing discontent among supporters about the direction the club has gone in over the past year saw the last protest at Ewood Park before the international break used as a way to criticise Venky's ownership.

The Indian poultry firm took over with Rovers 14th in the league, but within a month of them arriving, manager Sam Allardyce was replaced by Kean. In the second half of the season, results took a turn for the worse and Blackburn only narrowly avoided relegation on the last day of the season.

Rao understands fans' frustrations but pledged to work hard to help improve matters, saying: "We've had our ups and downs. Everything is difficult in life but it is not extraordinarily difficult. It's very nice to have such a prestigious football club. But you have to be sure of your results also, which I'm sure will come off later."

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