Doncaster Belles: FA chief ‘feels sorry’ for Manchester City

Kelly Simmons, FA.

Kelly Simmons, FA.

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FA Director of the National Game and Women’s Football Kelly Simmons has said she ‘feels sorry’ for Manchester City Ladies - the side which will replace Doncaster Rovers Belles in next season’s Women’s Super League top flight.

Simmons appeared on the BBC’s Women’s Football Show which was aired last night to answer questions regarding Belles’ demotion into WSL2 after the club did not meet the FA’s criteria following an application process.

She also defended the suggestion that their relegation was on the basis of finance.

In their place next term will be Manchester City LFC - a side who finished fourth in the Women’s Premier League this term.

When asked about the “backlash” following Belles’ relegation, Simmons told the BBC Two programme: “Doncaster Belles have a fantastic history but what I would say is that the backlash has been because it has been portrayed that the decision is about money and it isn’t about money.

“There are women’s clubs who don’t have men’s clubs’ backing but have really good local partnerships and are able to deliver that criteria.”

She went on: “Whereas it has all come across as money and that isn’t so. I feel a bit sorry, actually, for Manchester City (Ladies FC) because they were just one of 33 clubs that applied for a place and had a really strong bid and were placed in WSL1. They are only doing what we are asking men’s clubs to do all along - which is invest in and support women’s football.”

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