Boris Johnson has announced football fans should be allowed back into stadiums by October in a huge boost for next season.
Supporters have been banned from entering grounds since football returned – with just 300 players, staff and personnel allowed inside.
But now the Prime Minister has revealed fans may be allowed back early on in the 2020-21 season – which is set to start on either August 29 or September 12 – subject to trial runs.
Pilot tests will begin as early as NEXT MONTH with a view to having fans in stadiums as soon as possible.
Those test events have been confirmed as a County Cricket match at The Oval, Glorious Goodwood and the Snooker World Championship.
Johnson claimed: “From 1 August we will pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadia with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.
“From October we intend to bring back audiences in stadia in a Covid-secure way subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”
Johnson also suggested the plan was subject to fans following all the rules currently in place – and there being no flare ups in the coronavirus “R” rate.
But fans face random ballots for match tickets next season due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The Premier League’s chief medical officer Mark Gillett has predicted there are unlikely to be any capacity crowds allowed for all of the 2020-21 campaign.
The Premier League recently offered itself up as a nationwide “guinea pig” to lead the way back for fans at sports events.
League chief executive Richard Masters revealed he had told the Government-backed cross-sport working group that football will try out any dry runs that could open up the turnstiles.