Premier League clubs fear that games could be played behind closed doors until November as the Government desperately tries to stop a second coronavirus wave.
Along with football, other major sports have voiced their concerns over when they will be able to get spectators safely back inside grounds, with the initially planned return date of October 1 looking more unlikely as the days go by.
In recent weeks coronavirus cases have been on an alarming rise in the UK, which will see Prime Minister Boris Johnson impose tighter restrictions in a bid to prevent a second wave.
The PM faced a welter of criticism as begged the public to keep faith with his draconian rules despite the testing system descending into a shambles, with fears schools and offices will have to shut because people with mild symptoms cannot prove they are negative.
Amid bitter clashes between experts over the best way to respond to the rise in Covid cases, the North East is the latest area facing new curbs, including forcing pubs to shut at 10pm and a ban on households socialising with anyone else.
In an interview with The Sun, Mr Johnson emphasised that social restrictions, localised lockdowns, and a ‘ramped up’ testing were being used in a bid to prevent a second wave.
He warned: ‘The only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas is to be tough now.’
Sports governing bodies believe a November return at the earliest is more likely, with clubs looking to move towards 30 per cent capacity.
Up to 1,000 fans will be allowed at eight fixtures across the three divisions of the EFL, including the Championship matches at Middlesbrough and Norwich, on Saturday afternoon – a decision which has caused backlash among supporters as they fear for their safety and well-being.
EFL chairman Rick Parry, who said EFL clubs are losing £25million a month while fans aren’t allowed in stadiums over Covid-19 concerns, believes these trial events in football can ‘show the nation the way forward.’
He told Today on BBC Radio 4: ‘It’s entirely compatible with the rule of six. I think the government has a challenge in explaining all of the rules simply.
‘The government wants people to return to work, children to return to schools, students are returning to universities in huge numbers.