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Pune FC-Blackburn Rovers Match Called-Off

The much anticipated pre-season friendly match between I-League side Pune FC and English Premier League’s side Blackburn Rovers has been called off due to security reasons.

The match was scheduled Shiv Chhatrapathi Sports Complex, Balewadi-Mhalunge on Friday 22 July, 2011.

The Scotland Yard, back in London, issued a travel advisory to the English side to not travel to the sub continent following the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The terror bombs claimed 18 lives and left 130 wounded and led to demands from anxious Blackburn players about implementing safety measures ahead of their scheduled flight on Thursday.

Blackburn manager Steve Kean explained the situation,

“The players were looking for guidance, and as long as everything was explained to them, they were fine as a group. The trip is not cancelled. It is postponed to another date because of the activity out there. The board had a meeting with the owners and decided we had to go through a number of different checks. That trip will now take place at the beginning of October.”

Pune FC Director, Nandan Piramal said,

“We are very disappointed with the news. We were looking forward to the opportunity to play Rovers. History will have to wait.

“Though all of us at Pune FC are disappointed, I don’t feel it’s a huge set-back for India football. Indian football is arriving on the global stage and I feel many such opportunities will present themselves in the near future.”

Pune FC had already started selling the tickets of the match and the city of Pune was upbeat about the “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

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