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Belles In Distress

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Doncaster Belles, the oldest club in the Women's Premier League, are on the verge of bankruptcy. The club's future is in jeopardy after it lost a major sponsor and it may be forced to close within days. The club may have to shut down after Sunday's match with Arsenal if some funding cannot be found. At the moment the club can't even pay for the coach down to Arsenal which would cost £500. The Belle's annual budget is just £65,000. Doncaster Council and Doncaster Rovers have offered to help out, but their money won't be available until the end of the month. The club would have been 40 years old in January. Women's football has suffered a number of blows in recent years with Charlton Athletic withdrawing most of their funding after they were relegated from the Premiership. The women's game has not been as successful as it has been in the United States where legal requirements obliging colleges to make provision for women's sports have given it a boost.