Published: 10:00, 18 September 2020
| Updated: 11:06, 18 September 2020
A limited number of spectators will be able to watch next week’s friendly match between Dartford and Dover.
Up to 1,000 spectators will be allowed to attend Princes Park on Tuesday after the National League - which covers the top-tier of non-league football - were approved permission to host test events as part of a wider programme to pilot the safe return of spectators at sporting fixtures.
A decision on how many fans can access the match within the Covid guidelines has yet to be decided and the club will make an announcement once there has been a review taken place by the Safety Advisory Group.
A statement from Dartford said: “The decision to grant permission for a number of fixtures to reintroduce spectators is an important step in the journey to a return of the traditions of our national game and we are very pleased we have been chosen as a test event.
“We are all desperate to see supporters return but, as the league’s announcement makes clear, every fixture must be assessed with regard to the prevailing local public health conditions and this work is still ongoing.
“The club has produced a plan and implemented measures in the stadium for the safe reintroduction of spectators but this forms only a part of the considerations to be reviewed by a Safety Advisory Group as part of the national protocols. The Safety Advisory Group includes representatives from Public Health, Environmental Health, the Police and other emergency services and their review of each fixture will take into account the prevailing health conditions in each area.
“We are confident that our plans are strong but our readiness is only part of the picture.For that reason, we will not be opening ticket applications until the work of the Safety Advisory Group is completed.With the fixture only days away we know this may not be ideal but these are unusual times and our commitment to everyone’s health is paramount.”
Dartford took part in the end of season play-offs without supporters. National League sides will hope that fans can attend their league games which get underway at the start of October.
The midweek game at Dartford is one of four that have been approved, along with games at Dagenham, Yeovil and Notts County.
Clubs below the National League can have limited numbers of spectators, with the Southern Counties East Football League getting underway recently with spectators inside stadiums.
This weekend will see seven games in the Football League hosting spectators as pilot events, again limited to 1,000 fans. Hull City were one of those hoping to have fans inside their stadium but rises of Covid-19 cases in the city have led to that being scrapped.
Charlton Athletic’s home game with Doncaster in League 1 will be one of those involved.