On their way to the Barclays Asia Cup in Hongkong, which starts on July 27 and where they face FC Chelsea and Aston Villa, English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers are set to visit Pune, the home town of their Indian owners the Venky's.
There the Venky's not only want to get their team to make an appearance in Pune, but they would also like them to play a friendly match against the national team or an Indian club side which would be the first-ever game of an EPL side on Indian soil. The Venky's approached the AIFF for a game against India and the United Breweries Group about playing a friendly against one of their teams - East Bengal Club or Mohun Bagan AC.
The AIFF is said to have declined the offer then the potential dates of July 22 to 24 would not be possible as India play their away tie in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against the United Arab Emirates on July 23.
The reply from the UB Group was clear that at the moment East Bengal are better equipped to face EPL opposition though the final decision lies with the clubs management if they would want to play the game or not. The proposed date is July 22 with either Pune's Balewadi Sports Complex or the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai potential venues.
The offer has put East Bengal in a spot then currently their team is out of training due to the season break with coach Trevor Morgan and the foreigners away on holiday, while numerous red-and-gold players are in the India camp ahead of the World Cup qualifiers. It is clear that the red-and-gold would like to play such a high profile friendly, but they also understand what it means to take on an EPL side with an understrength squad. Therefore it looks unlikely that East Bengal would play the match, but a final decision has not been taken yet.
The Venky's might have to lookout for other opposition to take on in India or maybe plan such trips a little more in advance...