Doncaster Rovers Belles ‘intend to compete this season’ despite exodus

Doncaster Rovers Belles celebrate winning FAWSL2.
Doncaster Rovers Belles celebrate winning FAWSL2.

Doncaster Rovers Belles have moved to quell fears about the club’s future by insisting they will compete in next season’s FA Women’s Championship.

Since being crowned FAWSL2 champions Belles have seen their chair-lady Faye Lygo resign and manager Neil Redfearn left to take over at Liverpool Ladies.

Captain Leandra Little this week followed Jess Sigsworth, Kirtsy Hanson and Sam Tierney out of the exit door.

Regional Talent Club manager Julie Grundy has also departed to take up a similar role at Sheffield United.

Belles said on their official website: “Following our captain Leandra Little’s announcement that she is leaving the club, we would like to take the opportunity to thank all our outgoing players and staff for their contribution to the club and making us WSL2 champions this year.

“The FA’s changes to the leagues, with new teams in both divisions, was always going to affect this year’s transfer window.

“Looking just at the Championship, there are teams with great facilities, some offering full time training and great opportunities. Obviously we are disappointed to see players go but we understand their need to develop their careers and desire to work on this full time, or nearer to their homes.

“We would like to reassure our fans that it is our intention to compete this coming season and our current actions are part of a well thought out larger picture.

“Whilst sometimes news on players etc leak out, as a club we are often restrained from speaking publicly until the official, legal parts have been completed.

“The continued viability and positioning of the club is uppermost in our objective and we are very much alive and kicking!!”

Belles cannot afford to play in a fully professional FAWSL1 and have a licence for next season’s newly-named FA Women’s Championship.

The previous top story on their official website warned that the club could ‘slide down the leagues’ without fresh sponsorship and input from local businesses.

“We did not have the budget to fulfil the Tier 1 requirements, one of which was a full time squad of players,” it reads.

“In order to eventually progress to Tier 1, in the event of winning the League next year, we need to attract more income and get more people onboard in our team. We are therefore seeking people, sponsorship and partnerships to help us compete at the top level and expand/develop the many commercial opportunities open to us.

“Without fresh input from the locality, the club is likely to slide down the leagues, as we become less competitive.”

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