Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that plans to return sports fans to stadiums on 1st October will be postponed.
Test events have gone ahead for several weeks – including a football match between Brighton and Chelsea as well as the World Snooker Championship final – leading to optimism that reduced crowds could be phased back into stadiums from the start of next month.
However, a rise in coronavirus cases has led to tighter restrictions on the nation as a whole, and plans for sport crowds to return have been shelved.
During a lunchtime statement in the House of Commons, Johnson said: “We have to acknowledge the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen large sporting events.”
“We will not be able to do this from 1st October and I recognise the implications for our sports clubs, which are the life and soul of our communities.
“The Chancellor and the Culture Secretary are working urgently on what we can do now to support them.”
Premier League fixtures have been going ahead without crowds since the resumption of the 2019/20 season in June.
All matches for the remainder of last season were shown live across various TV channels, including a number of free-to-air games.
Clubs had initially blocked plans for broadcasters to show every game in the 2020/21 Premier League campaign live on TV, though they performed a U-turn just days before the season.
A deal was struck between clubs and broadcasters that would allow every game up until 1st October to be shown on TV until at least some fans could return to stadiums.
However, following today’s announcement – which could see restrictions for another ‘six months’ according to Johnson – pressure will likely build on clubs and broadcasters to continue to broadcast every match in some shape or form throughout the winter months.
For the full breakdown of what games are coming up check out our Premier League fixtures on TV guide.
If you’re looking for something else to watch check out our TV Guide.