EXCLUSIVE: Sporting Club Doncaster Rovers set to revolutionise sport in the borough?

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DONCASTER Rovers have taken a leaf out of FC Barcelona’s book and are taking giant strides towards becoming a sporting club.

And the idea has won the backing of two of Doncaster’s other semi-professional teams - who have told the Free Press they would be interested in joining a Doncaster Rovers ‘super club’.

Rovers launched a new handball team last week and already boast walking, biking and fitness clubs.

They recently branched out into disability sport by joining forces with Danum Eagles wheelchair basketball club and by forming Doncaster Rovers Disability FC, as well as launching a Doncaster Rovers Boccia club.

The Free Press understands that Rovers are currently developing several more sports to be offered under the DRFC umbrella - plans that could revolutionise the way sport is delivered in the borough.

The idea of ‘Sporting Club Doncaster Rovers’ has emerged at a time when the club is closing in on a deal with Doncaster Council to take over the running of the Keepmoat Stadium.

It is an idea that has also been backed by Doncaster Rovers Belles chairman Alan Smart and Doncaster RLFC co-owner Carl Hall.

Smart told the Free Press that Rovers would be “pushing against an open door” if they wanted the Belles to join a Doncaster Rovers Sporting Club.

He said: “We know all about how successful the Barcelona model is. To me it makes perfect sense to do it in Doncaster.”

Doncaster Athletic Club and the Doncaster Mustangs American football team, who are both tenants of the Keepmoat Stadium’s athletics arena, could also be targeted by Rovers.

FC Barcelona run the world’s most celebrated sporting club, boasting teams in football, handball, basketball, hockey and rugby.

Their set-up was mimicked by Newcastle United in the mid-1990s - thanks to the multi-million pound investment of former Magpies chairman Sir John Hall.

The idea of diverting football resources to other sports, however, met with opposition from fans on Tyneside.