Why Doncaster Rovers Belles won't be applying for promotion

Belles in action against Wolves.Belles in action against Wolves.
Belles in action against Wolves.
The Football Association is undertaking a process of ‘upward club movement’ in tiers 3-6 of the women’s pyramid but Doncaster Rovers Belles will not be applying.

Belles were second in FAWNL Division One Midlands - the fourth tier of the women’s game - when last season was curtailed for a second year running due to coronavirus.

Wolverhampton Wanderers, who had also led the table prior to the 2019/20 season being declared null and void, boasted six wins from six games and are in pole position to be promoted to the third tier.

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Club Doncaster bosses want the Belles back playing at FA Women’s Championship level but they are currently focused on building a team with the ability to climb into the FAWNL Northern Premier Division and stabilise in that league.

Clubs have until May 4 to apply for upward movement.

"Applications will be marked against a criteria weighted 75 per cent on-field and 25 per cent off-field,” said an FA statement.

“The on-field criteria will consider aspects such as points per game, cup performances and goal difference across the last two seasons. The off-field section will mark clubs on areas such as club structure, workforce and facilities.

"Clubs that meet these requirements will be ranked against those other clubs that have applied from within the same division and which have also fulfilled the relevant requirements. The club with the highest number of marks within each division will be offered upward movement.”

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Belles are hoping to be transferred from Division One Midlands to Division One North for the 2021/22 season, which would reduce travel costs and help the club attract and keep more northerly-based players.

They have returned to action this month with friendly wins over Leeds United U23s (7-1) and Stockport County (3-2), overseen by Nick Buxton in the absence of Andy Butler.