Doncaster Belles: Orient lawyer expresses desire to help appeal

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A legal eagle insists that Doncaster Rovers Belles have “the best law team behind them” in their FA appeal against ‘relegation’.

The club are putting their case together to present to the footballing body on Tuesday following an adjournment earlier this month.

Helping Belles vice chairman Alan Smart to keep the long-serving women’s club in the top flight is Mischon de Reya solicitor Liz Ellen.

Ellen, who acted for Leyton Orient on claims relating to the Olympic Stadium, is a specialist in sport and represents a number of athletes.

She believes in Belles’ plight so much that the legal ace has offered to represent them on a Pro bono basis.

She told the Free Press: “The case of the Donny Belles is the first big legal challenge in the women’s game. Their demotion is seen as a serious injustice both to those within the game and to the public at large.

“At Mishcon de Reya we are proud to take up the fight for the Belles, an institution of women’s football, and relish the opportunity to represent them in a matter that is so important to the club and to the development of the women’s game as a whole.”

Ellen will more than boost Belles’ appeal, said Carl Lygo - chief executive of BPP Holdings, who run the country’s largest law school.

“Belles have got the best possible law team behind them,” said Lygo, who is also helping the club.

“I’m appalled by how the FA have acted, any judge in a domestic court of law would say it was unfair.”

A QC and leading barrister have also been instructed on to the case, but not on a Pro bono basis.

The decision has been met with disgust globally, nearly 9,000 people - including TV presenter Dermot O’Leary - have signed a petition against the FA’s call.

Lygo also met ex-Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright this week and said the radio pundit was “disgusted” by the decision.

Doncaster Law Society has opposed the decision. President Alison Turner, of Malcolm C Foy, said: “The Doncaster and District Law Society expresses its considerable concern as to the unfair way in which the Doncaster Belles have been treated and urges the FA to review its decision.”

The appeal has come at a cost financially. A ‘Fighting Fund’ is at Lloyds TSB - sort 309268, account 00556100.

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