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Women's Football News
Doncaster Rovers Belles have secured a sponsorship deal with Professional Education Group BPP that could see players swapping their kit for a cap and gown.
BPP Professional Education Group is the largest European private education provider, training two-thirds of all accountants in the UK and one-third of all lawyers entering the English legal profession. It is the leading independent University College dedicated to the professions, including BPP Law School, the largest full-time undergraduate law school in the UK, BPP School of Health and BPP Business School.
Under the terms of the sponsorship, BPP Professional Education Group have offered scholarships for players to study with them and the Doncaster Belles have agreed to take interns to help build the business side of their operation.
Carl Lygo, who heads up the organisation, was born in Doncaster, practised locally as a barrister and went to school with some of the former great names of Doncaster Belles, like Karen Walker.
The Belles are one of the most historical and decorated women's football clubs in the country. They are one of only two teams from outside London to have won the FA Women's Premier League and have played in 13 women's FA cup finals, winning six.
But, despite success on the pitch, they were relegated because of FA concerns over facilities and the club's commercial and marketing strategies.
Carl stepped in to offer legal advice when the Belles launched an appeal last month against the FA decision. The appeal was unsuccessful and the Belles will now play in the Women's Super League 2 - their place in the top flight taken by Manchester City.
Carl said: "Everyone concerned was devastated when the Belles lost their appeal but they need our support now more than ever. We're delighted we've been able to negotiate a deal that benefits both the club and BPP.
"We're keen to forge a proper relationship with the club and hope we can arrange internships for our students and scholarships for players," he added.
"Wow", said Alan Smart, Vice-Chairman of the Belles, "What a statement of intent this is from BPP; I'm not normally stuck for words but this is massive for the Belles.
"As devastating as the news from the FA was, it's how you react in adversity. Did people think we were going to pack in and close up shop? Not a chance. BPP and the relationship outlined by Carl will, without a shadow of doubt, take this club onto the next level.
"Sponsorship in any field in these times of austerity is difficult to come by, but what this means is that women's football and those playing at Doncaster will have an academic and employment opportunity in keeping with the semi professional aspirations of the FA."
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