Doncaster Rovers WON'T be welcoming back fans to the Keepmoat from October 1

Plans for the return of football supporters to stadiums from October 1 have been halted, the government has confirmed.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 9:03 am

Clubs have been preparing for several months in order to be ready to welcome back crowds in limited number from next month.

And last weekend the pilot scheme was extended in the EFL with seven matches seeing crowds of up to 1,000 people attending, including Doncaster Rovers’ trip to Charlton Athletic.

But with concern over the rising infection rate of Covid-19, the government have paused the plans. The UK Covid alert has been set to 4, which indicated transmission of the virus is ‘high or rising exponentially.’

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Keepmoat Stadium

Cabinet office minister Michael Gove confirmed the pausing of the return of fans with Prime Minister Boris Johnson due to address the country on Tuesday afternoon.

But Gove also said the government remain committed to their programme of bringing people back to stadiums as soon as possible.

Speaking to the BBC, Gove said: "We were looking at a staged programme of more people returning - it wasn't going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans.

"We're looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme, but what we do want to do is to make sure that, as and when circumstances allow, get more people back.

"The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but again it's in the nature of major sporting events that there's a lot of mingling."

He added: "What we must do is look at sporting events now with caution but we also recognise that sport is a vital part of this nation and we're looking at everything we can do to support our athletes, our great clubs, through what will be a challenging time."

The news is likely to cause concern among football clubs, particularly those in the lower leagues who are heavily reliant on matchday income for their operation.

Rovers drew up their budgets based on a model of fans returning in January but would still see their business impacted if income streams are not restarted in the coming weeks.

*

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a print subscription.

The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support.

We couldn't do it without you.

Please subscribe here https://www.localsubsplus.co.uk/ so we can keep campaigning on your behalf.

Stay safe.