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The Indian also defended the decision to sack Michael Appleton, their third permanent manager of the season, and says he still has hope that the club will be promoted this year

EXCLUSIVE
By Ayush Srivastava

Blackburn Rovers managing director Balaji Rao has defended the decision to sack Michael Appleton and insists the Indian family see the club as a "lifelong commitment".

While the decision to part company with the former Blackpool boss was met with wide-spread dismay amongst the fans of the Lancashire based club, Rao says he felt it was necessary to get rid of the former Blackpool boss in order to save the club from being relegated for the second year in a row.

"I want to go up [get promoted] and not go down, period. Mathematically [we could get relegated], and I don't want us to go down," Rao told Goal.com.

"[Interim boss] Gary Bowyer will continue to be the manager for the rest of the season.

"Let this season finish [and then we shall have a look at the managerial scenario]. For this season, we are not looking to just avoid relegation as we think we still have a chance to go up."

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Rao also brushed aside all the rumours of the Venky’s possibly selling the club in the future, even if they did get relegated, adding: "Blackburn Rovers is my lifelong commitment. I love the fans [of the club]."

Blackburn recently loaned out striker Edinho Junior to Indian club Shillong Lajong, with Rao stating that Rovers are hoping to expand in his home country.

He added: "Edinho is a good player and this is good exposure for him. It is also the first time that somebody with his caliber has come to India.

"For Indian football we have great plans. We are getting our own stadium up, and we are also looking forward to starting an academy.

"We are also planning to have our own team here in India. We will 100 per cent use Blackburn Rovers’ brand for the [Indian] club. Yes I think I would prefer Pune, since I am from the city itself."

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