Hopes raised over Sheffield United fans' return to Bramall Lane after 'constructive' talks between government and football leaders

Supporters of Sheffield United could finally return to Bramall Lane as early as next month, according to a report in the Daily Mail today.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 4:02 pm
Sheffield United fans hope they will be allowed back inside Bramall Lane soon: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The Mail claim that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has submitted plans to the Cabinet Office which could see fans back inside grounds if the country comes out of lockdown on December 2.

Capacity of stadia would be heavily restricted and fans would have to socially distance to help limit the spread of Covid-19.

And under the plans, the return of supporters would be dependent on the coronavirus infection dates in the local area.

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Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden and officials from sporting bodies met earlier today to discuss that loss of income from hosting behind-closed-doors games and how and when supporters can return, among other topics.

Dowden said further discussions will continue. "Constructive conversation with football leaders on governance and getting fans back," he wrote on Twitter.

"I want to work together with football to make progress on important issues for the game's long-term future.

"Discussions to continue as we start our fan-led review of governance."

The fan-led review was a commitment the Conservative party made in its election manifesto last year, but Dowden's tweet did not reference any new target date for the return of spectators.

October 1 had been earmarked as the date when spectators could return to grounds on a socially distanced basis, with venues set at that point to operate at up to one third of normal capacity.

However, a spike in coronavirus infections which has now led to a second national lockdown has made it more difficult to make the case for a swift return of spectators.