Hopes that Coventry City fans could soon return to watch their team in limited numbers have been boosted by the apparent success of a football pilot event.

Brighton & Hove Albion hosted a friendly against Chelsea on Saturday, with 2,500 supporters inside the Amex Stadium.

Premier League and Championship games were played behind closed doors for the remaining games of last season, once the competitions resumed following a three-month suspension. And the new campaign will also begin without crowds due to the coronavirus crisis.

But the Daily Mail report the Government were pleased with the first football test event with fans, at Brighton.

It is said the weekend’s match was closely observed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with the report adding “they will liaise this week with experts from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority about scaling up the pilot schemes”.

Plans are already in place to open turnstiles to restricted audiences across various sports throughout September.

A Premiership rugby fixture between Harlequins and Bath, cricket matches in the Bob Willis Trophy and T20 Blast, a basketball friendly at Newcastle, speedway at Ipswich and horseracing at Doncaster, Warwick and Newmarket have all been selected to allow fans to attend.

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Meanwhile, in football, West Ham will have a capacity of 1,000 fans for the Women’s Super League fixture against Arsenal, at Dagenham and Redbridge’s Victoria Road, on September 12.

The Football Association also hope to invite a crowd of about 10,000 into Wembley Stadium for the Trophy and Vase finals on non-league finals day September 27.

The Mail say Government officials “continue to work towards welcoming socially distanced crowds back inside grounds from the start of October”.





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