ROVERS’ parent company, Venky’s London Limited (VLL), say a reduction in parachute payments was behind the £4.2m increase in losses posted for the latest financial year.

But VLL, which owns a 99.99 per cent stake in Rovers, insist they remain committed to the club which remains reliant on funding from the Rao family.

The company balance sheet of VLL includes amounts invested in and loaned to its subsidiary, the Blackburn Rovers Football and Athletic Limited totalling £120,480,661.

VLL losses for the year to March 2017 stood at £7,058,412, a £4,221,051 rise on the 2016 figure (£2.8m) though still markedly down on the £35.1m posted in 2015.

Net liabilities for VLL stand at £20.69million and forecasts for 2018 indicate ‘the group will require significant funding in addition to the current facilities available to the group’.

However, the accounts state that the directors ‘have required confirmation from the ultimate parent company, Venkateshwara Hatcheries Pvt. Ltd it has sufficient funds and is willing to provide additional financing as may be required’. That is regardless of whether the bank facility, provided by the State Bank of India, which is due for renewal in March 2018, is approved.

VLL turnover continues to fall, down to £16.1m in 2016/17 from £21.8m in 2015/16 and £24m in 2015/16, linked to a 15 per cent fall in attendances during that period. The average crowds were at 12,688 compared to 14,930 two years ago.

Matchday income was down by just over £300,000 to £3.3m, while commercial revenue fell from £5.032m to £4.4m but the biggest drop came in media revenue which fell from £13.065m to £7.9m between March 2016 and March 2017.

The accounts state ‘a reduction in turnover was due to a further reduction in the share of parachute payments received by the league’.

Of their aims, VLL stated: “The focus of the company has again been for the football club to obtain promotion back to the Premier League and remaining compliant with Financial Fair Play (FFP).”

Although seeing a reduction in turnover and an increase in overall losses, VLL did reduce their operating loss by just under £900,000.

It was down to £17.9m from £18.8m in 2015/16 and £28.7m in 2014/15, a 37.6 per cent fall in three years.

Key to the reduction in operating loss was the drop in the wage bill, however the wage to turnover ratio remains extremely high at 140 per cent, meaning for every £1 received, £1.40 was spent on wages.

The wage bill for 2016/17 was £22.6m a near 20 per cent drop in 12 months from £28.2m the previous year.

Staff numbers dropped by 13 to 239 with 143 employed as football staff or management, 38 in the commercial departments, 19 in administration and 39 as building, ground and pitch management.

The departures of Shane Duffy to Brighton, Grant Hanley to Newcastle and Ben Marshall’s January move to Wolves ensured Rovers made a profit on player sales.

That stood at £11.7m, £10.875m of which came from the Duffy and Hanley sales as indicated as a note in the 2016 accounts. The extra was aided by Marshall’s departure and includes the signing of Derrick Williams from Bristol City for a figure in the region of £250,000.

Despite making a profit on player sales they dropped by £5.6m compared to the previous 12 months – a period which included the departures of strikers Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes for a combined fee of £17m.

The accounts indicate that since March 2017 Rovers have had a net transfer spend of £302,833 but add ‘under the terms of certain contracts for the purchase of players’ registration future payments may be due, dependent upon the success of the team and/or individual players.’ These could amount to £1.75m. It adds: ‘similar terms exist in contracts for sales of player registrations’.