Doncaster Belles face ‘criteria’ battle if promoted

Kelly Simmons, FA.
Kelly Simmons, FA.

Doncaster Rovers Belles may not gain promotion even if they win WSL2 next year, it has been revealed.

Belles, relegated following an FA application process, will be playing football in the second tier of the Women’s Super League in 2014.

Photo: Paul Thomas

Photo: Paul Thomas

The primary reason behind their appeal being dismissed was that they only had third priority to their home ground - the Keepmoat Stadium, the ground which hosted this year’s FA Women’s Cup final.

FA Director of National Game and Women’s Football, Kelly Simmons, said that Belles - or any other club who won the 2014 WSL2 - would still have to meet FA criteria to be promoted like the men’s system employ.

Simmons said: “It is in all of our interests to make sure all the clubs in WSL2 can work towards and meet the criteria so that the winners are able to go up but if clubs don’t meet the criteria they won’t go up.”

She went on: “We will be working with all the clubs and particularly with Doncaster Belles.

“Our facilities team are already working with them to find solutions to problems they have got.”

Alan Smart, Belles vice chairman, questioned that response, adding: “The world appears to indicate that The FA and The FA WSL have scored an own goal.

“Those comments give no-one faith that even if Donny smash WSL2 that they could still fail on the ‘four criteria’ (finance and business management; commercial sustainability and marketing; facilities; and players, support staff and youth development).

“Crucially, as per the current issues, the Keepmoat and finance (if the Belles win WSL2) will no doubt be raised again?”