When Sheffield United fans could be allowed back into Bramall Lane after EFL pilots given go-ahead

Sheffield United fans could be let back into Bramall Lane as soon as next month, despite a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 4:49 pm
A general view of Sheffield United v Wolves from the empty stands at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Laurence Griffiths/NMC Pool/PA Wire.

The government's plan to run a series of pilot events before the start of the 2020/21 season had to be shelved, but the sports minister has confirmed that fans could still be allowed back into stadiums - albeit with a drastically reduced capacity, to help social distancing measures.

Nigel Huddleston made the admission in a letter to fellow MP Tracey Crouch, who wrote to the sports minister expressing her concerns about National League clubs encountering financial struggle if games continue without fans being allowed to attend.

The EFL will continue to stage pilots with up to 1,000 fans at matches this weekend, after government approval was granted.

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And Huddleston wrote: "The government wants to see spectators back at sports events as soon and as safely as possible.

"We have made important progress in staging a series of pilot and test events across different sports with more to follow.

"The pilot programme will continue throughout September, restricted to a maximum capacity of 1,000 people.

"The success of these events will be reviewed ahead of the current date of October 1 for reopening for socially distanced spectators under covid-secure conditions more widely if public health conditions permit.

"Subject to the successful staging of the pilot programme and the wider public health conditions, we hope to reopen elite sports fixtures for socially distanced spectators under Covid-secure conditions from October 1.

"We continue to work closely with a whole range of sports to understand the latest thinking that may allow increased numbers of spectators to return."