Judge in India delays final Blackburn Rovers funding hearing until after start of next season

Blackburn Rovers Ewood Park - © Chris Heaton

A second delay to a court hearing in India means Championship football club Blackburn Rovers will be starting the 2024/25 season with the uncertainty over the finances still hanging over them. 

The judge hearing the case, Honorable Mr Justice Subramonium Prasad, delayed the hearing when he simply said in an order this week: “It is already 05:15 PM. The matter is likely to take some time. List on 20.08.2024 for final hearing.” 

This means that with the EFL season starting on the weekend of the 10/11 August 2024, the club will be none the wiser as to whether the Indian government will allow the owners to fund a foreign business. 

Earlier this year theBusinessDesk.com reported that the Lancashire club’s financial destiny hung in the balance.

It had emerged that in June 2023, the poultry and pharma group Venky’s, which has owned Rovers since 2011, had to apply to the High Court in the capital New Delhi for emergency permission to pay an outstanding tax bill. An earlier application to send £26m to Blackburn was turned down when the Indian government’s Economic Directorate refused to issue a ‘No Objection Certificate’ to payments to Rovers.

Venky’s achieved permission to settle the tax bill which they argued would have caused “a huge loss to the reputation.”

Since then the club has plummeted in the table, sitting just three points above the relegation zone with nine tough games remaining.

At a recent meeting with specially selected fan groups, chief executive Steve Waggott insisted that Venky’s will not sell the club.

The January transfer window saw highly rated teenager midfielder Adam Wharton depart for Crystal Palace for a reported £17m, which has eased short term cash flow issues, but a catastrophic comedy of errors saw the collapse of a deal to sign USA international Duncan McGuire from Orlando City, resulting in the resignation of manager Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Since then, protests against the chief executive Steve Waggott and the Venky’s ownership have stepped up, not helped by Rovers issuing a statement dismissing “social media speculation” that has done little to dampen concerns over the ability of the owners of the Championship club to fund the club in the long term as the Indian government cracks down on money leaving the country.

“Blackburn Rovers wish to allay concerns amongst our supporters regarding the latest legal proceedings and developments taking place in India involving our Owners,” the statement opened.

“The club can confirm that the adjournment of this week’s scheduled High Court hearing in Delhi will not impact the day-to-day funding of the club in any way.

“As is public knowledge, £11m of interim funding was made available to the club – backed by a personal guarantee – before Christmas, with a further tranche of funds set to be received in due course, which will cover club costs until at least the end of the season, in which time the Owners will be trying to get closure on the current investigation into one of their overseas companies.”

This investigation relates to the purchase of a converted farmhouse near Bolton in 2011, from footballer turned businessman Gary Neville, by Venkateshwara Hatcheries Pvt Ltd the ultimate beneficial owners of Blackburn Rovers.

The statement also said: “The Owners have given assurance to the Board and Executive of BRFC that they will continue to fully support the club, as they have done since they acquired the club in 2010.

“Whilst the club would not normally comment on social media speculation, we felt it was important to update supporters on the matter on this occasion.”


On 18 March 2024, Blackburn Rovers issued a further statement in response to stories like this one, dismissing the concerns of fans and stakeholders by describing the case as “related only to technical and procedural issues”.

“The Owners would like to assure all Blackburn Rovers supporters and partners that the Club will continue to have their full support in the short, medium and long term.

“The ongoing court case in India is now related only to technical and procedural issues involving Venkateshwara Hatcheries Pvt Ltd (VHPL ) and should have no future impact on the Owners being able to continue to fund the Club.

“Even through the extremely challenging times of the Covid pandemic and during difficulties encountered last year, the Owners have always supported the Club, which will continue as and when they are required to do so.

“Finally, the Owners would like to take this opportunity to thank all associated with the Club for their support and have full belief that under our new Head Coach John Eustace we can have a strong end to the current season.”