Club issues statement on Belles captain's fundraising for career-saving surgery

Sophie Scargill in action for Doncaster Rovers Belles.Sophie Scargill in action for Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Sophie Scargill in action for Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Doncaster Rovers Belles have issued a statement after it emerged that their club captain Sophie Scargill had to set up a crowdfunding page to pay for career-saving knee surgery.

Scargill, who also works for Doncaster Rovers as a commercial executive, suffered severe ligament damage during a Belles training session last month.

The 26-year-old faced a wait of up to two years for surgery through the NHS, putting her footballing future at risk, so decided to go private at a cost of £5,000.

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Belles’ players are only paid expenses and the club’s amateur status – they currently play in the fourth tier of the English game – means Scargill was only insured up to £250.

Scargill has since raised the required funding with the help of donations most notably from Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker (£3,000) and Doncaster-born Premier League star Danny Rose (£2,500) afer her story sparked plenty of interest and comment on social media.

Club Doncaster, who operate Belles alongside Doncaster Rovers and Doncaster RLFC, had offered to loan Scargill £5,000 on an interest-free basis.

A spokesperson for Doncaster Rovers Belles said: “We have great sympathy for Sophie and the devastating impact an injury like this can have on both physical and mental well-being.

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“Sophie is insured as all of our players are but this premium does not cover the full cost of this surgery.

"Unfortunately, Doncaster Rovers Belles is not currently playing at a level where it can absorb the costs of a player’s operation.”

Donations to Scargill’s JustGiving page have continued over the weekend and now exceed £8,000.

After Lineker’s donation, Scargill tweeted: “Wow. Speechless. Can’t quite believe any of this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has so generously helped me reach my target.

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"@GaryLineker your unbelievable donation means I can now start my recovery process.”

Belles, meanwhile, went second in FAWNL Division One Midlands after a 2-0 win at Wem Town on Sunday.

Andy Butler’s side have won six of their eight league games and trail leaders Lincoln City by just two points.