This is when Government are 'confident' Sheffield United fans will be back at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United fans could be back at Bramall Lane to cheer on the Blades in October after the sports minister admitted he is "confident" that the government's October 1 target will be met.
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The 2019/20 football season was completed behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, although sports fans were allowed into stadiums for the first time since March recently with 1,000 attending a pilot cricket friendly between Surrey and Middlesex at The Oval.

Sheffield's Crucible Theatre will hold the first indoor pilot event when the World Snooker Championship starts on Friday, while the PA news agency understands top flight clubs have discussed having supporters at pre-season friendlies.

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"The October 1 deadline is certainly the target that we're looking at," sports minister Nigel Huddleston said.

Bramall Lane has been closed to fans since March because of the Covid-19 pandemic: Tim Goode/PA Wire.Bramall Lane has been closed to fans since March because of the Covid-19 pandemic: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
Bramall Lane has been closed to fans since March because of the Covid-19 pandemic: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

"In the past, if you look at various announcements we've made, some have been put forward, some have been pushed back, but I think that's a pretty firm one because we've got plans for not only the immediate pilots, but the next series of pilots.

"We genuinely want to make sure that we learn the lessons from those pilots. We're really just talking just over two months away.

"In the whole scheme of things, it's not that far away - 60 something days, and we'll be there. So I would be surprised at this moment in time is that date moved. But I'm confident we'll meet that date."

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The Community Shield has also been discussed as a possible test event for allowing fans back into stadiums. When Bramall Lane is given the go-ahead to let supporters in again, it will likely be under strict conditions. The number of seats available will be highly limited - which will prove problematic at many clubs, with United alone having over 20,000 season-ticket holders - while other proposals on the table are thought to include banning singing and shouting, in an attempt to limit the potential spread of Covid-19.

“There are particular challenges with certain sports,” Huddleston added. “People have got to realise if you don’t behave, you won’t have more people in stadiums. They’ve got to take that personal responsibility and realise that if they don’t behave appropriately they’re risking the game for everybody.”

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