Published:29 September 2020
Despite a rise in social distancing limits, Stoke City supporters will still be able to return to matches next month.
The government had planned to allow supporters back in from October, and last week Stoke City announced a groundbreaking season ticket package. Still, a sharp spike in cases of Covid-19 over the previous few weeks had led to fears that spectators returning to elite sport would be delayed.
It postponed test activities that had been scheduled as part of the comeback.
But Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP has now announced that next month's intention is still to enable supporters back into stadiums.
He wrote a letter to Tracey Crouch MP after expressing her fears about National League clubs that are faced with severe financial difficulties if fans are still stopped from attending games because of coronavirus.
Huddleston has confirmed that the plan is still to allow elite-level clubs to re-accommodate crowds, although at a reduced capacity.
The pilot programme, limited to a maximum capacity of 1000 people, will continue during September.
Ahead of the current date of October 1, the progress of these events will be checked for reopening for socially distanced audiences under COVID-secure conditions more generally if public health conditions permit.
The events were chosen to test several different event types across the major men's and women's sports in the world.
Several active pilots have already been completed, including Crucible snooker, Edgbaston cricket and Brighton and Hove Albion football.