The English Football League have underlined the importance of starting to allow fans back into stadiums this month to help alleviate the “extreme pressure” on clubs’ finances.
Discussions continue between sports governing bodies and government over the return of supporters amid the challenges of Covid-19.
The government had set October 1 as the date that fans could begin to filter back into stadiums at 25 percent capacity on average, but that is under review after a spike in coronavirus cases nationwide.
EFL head of policy John Nagle said on Tuesday that clubs will make a collective loss of £200m if fans do not return this season, having already been hit by a £50m loss lass term.
And today the EFL have said in a statement: “The EFL remains in discussions with the Government about the pilot programme which may include a limited number of further pilot matches during September with a capacity limited to 1,000.
“The league is clear in its view that social distancing can be applied safely in football stadia and that having crowds at matches is an absolutely essential part of helping to protect club finances, which remain under extreme pressure.
“Therefore, the successful delivery of further pilots will be an important step towards getting larger number of fans into grounds safely.
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“The EFL will continue its dialogue with DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and SGSA (Sports Ground Safety Authority) to ensure that evidence and insight secured from these events helps to inform the Government’s position on welcoming back supporters post October 1.”
The EFL are set to host more pilot matches with crowds this weekend, after being granted permission by the government to allow up to 1,000 fans into some games.
Replying to questions from fans on Twitter, Coventry City say they are not currently part of any pilot schemes.
The Sky Blues have their first home match of the season this Friday, when they face QPR.