Published: 10:33, 15 September 2020
Gillingham supporters are still on course to return to matches in October.
That remains the hope of the Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Nigel Huddleston MP, despite the recent withdrawal of pilot events with fans in stadiums.
After the recent rise in Covid-19 cases, pilot events including FA Finals Day - which would have seen 10,000 fans at Wembley to see the FA Trophy and FA Vase finals at the end of September - have been put back.
There are fears that fans won't be able to return to matches in the EFL next month, along with the start of the National League season on October 3.
But Mr Huddleston, in a letter to Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch, says: "We hope to reopen elite sport fixtures including the National League for socially distanced spectators under covid-secure conditions from 1 October."
He also wrote: "The Government wants to see spectators back at sports events as soon and as safely as possible. We have made important progress in staging a series of pilot and test events across different sports, with more to follow.
"The pilot programme will continue throughout September, restricted to a maximum capacity of 1,000 people.
"The success of these pilots will be reviewed ahead of the current date of 1 October for reopening for socially distanced spectators under covid-secure conditions more widely, if public health conditions permit.
"I know how important this is for sports clubs for whom paying spectators are vital. This is why we amended guidance to provide extra clarification for organisers of non-elite sports events to help them manage and admit spectators safely, adhering to social distancing."
The National League - classed as elite sport by both the FA and Government after they pressed ahead to stage the 2019/20 play-offs - have delayed the start of their season until October on the basis that they could allow some fans to return to grounds.
Gillingham's first home match in October is against Oxford United on October 10, although it is expected that a reduced capacity will be allowed at Priestfield if fans get the green light to return by then.
National League Maidstone United announced at the weekend the numbers they expect to initially admit to the Gallagher Stadium for their home matches.