Doncaster Belles protesters ‘felt like hooligans’

Protest in support of Doncaster Rovers Belles in the Frenchgate Centre which took place prior to Sunday's FA Women's Cup final. Photo: Kevin Neagle
Protest in support of Doncaster Rovers Belles in the Frenchgate Centre which took place prior to Sunday's FA Women's Cup final. Photo: Kevin Neagle
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Protesters fighting for Doncaster Rovers Belles to be reinstated into next year’s top flight had items confiscated at a football game.

The group took leaflets, a petition, banner and bells to the FA Women’s Cup final on Sunday at the Keepmoat. However, security confiscated items leaving the group feeling like “hooligans”.

Protester Kevin Maye said: “They took our banner because they said it was unsuitable and that it was being used as ‘evidence’.

“It’s not like we were going to run on to the pitch and protest. We were treated like hooligans, it left a bad taste in the mouth and really spoilt our day.”

Mr Maye said at one point their tickets were removed, however, were returned to them so they could enter the ground and watch the game.

A spokesman for Doncaster Rovers said: “There has been some speculation around what happened prior to the FA Women’s cup final this bank holiday weekend.

“We were aware of a planned protest at the game, which was not supported by the Doncaster Belles as they believed it would harm their current appeal.

“The stadium liaised with all parties in advance of the game at the request of the Belles and worked hard to agree a solution that was agreeable to all, we feel this was largely achieved.

“We are aware of a few protestors who had issues at the game on Sunday and we are continuing to work with them directly to address their concerns.

“Overall The FA Women’s cup final was a very well run event and a great advert for women’s football. We work closely with the FA to attract high profile games to Doncaster and generating an increased interest in women’s football locally should ultimately benefit the Belles.”

The banner has been returned, the Free Press understands.

A minute of applause was held for Belles during the cup final on Sunday in the 22nd minute to mark 22 years the club has been playing top flight football.

Belles have appealed the FA’s relegation.

The FA are refusing to comment about the WSL 2014 process until it is complete - likely to be next month.