Venky's to use Blackburn Rovers brand for new I-League club and academy

Venky’s, the publicly-listed subsidiary of India's Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group, has a series of football initiatives to coincide with the visit to Pune of the English Premier League club, Blackburn Rovers, which it bought for £46 million late last year.

According to The Indian Express, Blackburn Rovers will become the first EPL club to visit India when they arrive in Mumbai on 21 July. They will proceed to Pune, where they play an exhibition match on 22 July against an as yet un-named opponent.

As previously reported, on 23 July Rovers' players will participate in the finals of an U-16 youth tournament between teams from Pune, Goa, Mumbai and Kolkata .

B Balaji Rao, Venky’s Managing Director, also told the newspaper of plans to set up an academy on the outskirts of Pune. “We are getting an academy and a stadium in Pune. The site is near the Mumbai-Pune highway and will be ready in a year and a half or two years,” he said. “The academy will be run exactly like the Blackburn academy, with trainees starting when they are in the 11-12 age group, and train under coaches from Blackburn.”

Venky’s will also make a foray into Indonesia's professional national competition, the I-League, said Rao. “We are looking to launch a team based around players from the academy,” he said. “We have already registered the team name Blackburn Rovers FC Pune.”

In November last year, Venky's Chairman, Anuradha Desai, told media the company was "looking to spread the name of Blackburn Rovers wherever we can. India is our major target."

She added that there would be activities to increase the popularity of the club among the Indian public including exhibition matches. "We will take a look at their calendar and when it is convenient for them we will arrange exhibition matches in India. We are also looking to start workshops where we fly down coaches of the Blackburn Academy and arrange training sessions for kids in India,” she said.