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By ESPN Staff

Venky's refute sale suggestion

Blackburn Rovers' co-owner has insisted the club is not for sale despite their relegation from the Premier League.

• Rovers confirm Hunt exit
• Letter to Rovers owners leaked

Following a difficult week for Blackburn, Venkatesh Rao says Indian poultry giants Venky's are with Rovers for the long-term.

He also insisted deputy chief executive Paul Hunt has left the club as a cost-cutting measure rather than being sacked over a leaked letter.

Asked if Venky's wanted to keep Blackburn in the long-term, Rao told the Times of India: "Yes, it is a company of ours and there is nothing whatsoever in [the speculation]. These allegations are not correct.''

Hunt's letter to the owners in December, which was leaked earlier this week, asked them to sack manager Steve Kean and spend more money on new signings. It was confirmed on Thursday Hunt had left the club.

Rao said: "It is not sacking because of that. Some staff have to go to bring the budget down, it is nothing to do with it [the letter].''

Rao admitted he expected criticism from fans in the wake of relegation, but that they had a right to do so.

"We were relegated so naturally they are going to do that,'' he said. "We have to come out of this situation, that's the most important thing. The fans have the right to do what they want.

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

Venky's have continued to stand by Kean as manager and the Rovers boss has said he does not know what savings he will have to make on the playing staff.

Kean said: "I don't know to what extent we will have to cut costs. The budget is still be agreed. That will be a process that happens as quickly as possible.

"I think what we have got to do is assemble a squad and keep the players we can keep. Certainly the young players that are coming through, there is going to be lots of interest because they have done so well.

"We have established players like Paul Robinson and Morten Pedersen that have only played at a high level. I don't know if there will be other interest, but in conversation with them they are just as devastated as everyone else.

"I have spoken at great length with the owners and that will continue over the next six or seven days. The only objective for the owners and myself is to build a squad, it is as simple as that.''


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