The Sheffield club aimed to raise £60,000 during the summer, to help finance the costs of competing in the 2020/21 season.
The Hatters will celebrate their 60th anniversary next year but were unable to reach their fundraising target, meaning this campaign will be the first time they have not competed in the elite tier of the women’s game.
A self-sufficient club, the Sheffield outfit are reliant on ticket sales, sponsors and fundraisers but all those revenue streams have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.
Helen Naylor, one of the club’s star players, admits that the whole squad were left “heartbroken and devastated” by the news.
“It had been a bit touch and go whether or not we would be able to get a sponsor and raise the money,” said Naylor, who is the first woman to score 1,000 points in the WBBL.
“When we realised when we definitely couldn’t for this season, we were all just really devastated. It is the 60th anniversary for the Hatters so it would have been a really special year. Any other year we still would have been as disappointed as we are now. It is just such a shame we couldn’t find a sponsor or raise the funds.”
The Hatters will compete in Division Two of the women’s game next season, although will be without coach Vanessa Ellis who has taken a one-year coaching role in Austria.
However, Naylor feels the Hatters need to develop a more long-term financial plan with the door open for them to return to the WBBL in 2021.
Naylor added: “We are just going to have a bit of a rebuilding year and work hard to get the funds we need for next year.
“But we also need to look at something that is going to be more long term, we can’t go through this every year just before the season.
“We are going to try and get back into the WBBL but have to have plans in place for next year.”
Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today.
Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers.
So, please - if you can - pay for our work. Just £5 per month is the starting point. If you think that which we are trying to achieve is worth more, you can pay us what you think we are worth. By doing so, you will be investing in something that is becoming increasingly rare. Independent journalism that cares less about right and left and more about right and wrong. Journalism you can trust.