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The start of King's Lynn Town's National League season in severe doubt

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It now looks increasingly unlikely that King's Lynn Town's National League campaign will kick-off next week following the announcement to postpone the return of fans to sporting venues from next month.

Due to a resurgence in coronavirus cases in the UK, plans to allow fans to return to live sport from October 1 have been shelved.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove told BBC Breakfast this morning: “We’ve been piloting some open air venues and we do want to be able in due course to allow people to return to watch football and other sporting events.

The Walks, home of King's Lynn Town FC.. (34402452)
The Walks, home of King's Lynn Town FC.. (34402452)

"We need to be cautious at the moment and I think a mass reopening at this stage wouldn’t be appropriate.

"We were looking at a staged programme of more people returning - it wasn't going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans.

"We're looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme, but what we do want to do is to make sure that, as and when circumstances allow, get more people back.

"The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but again it's in the nature of major sporting events that there's a lot of mingling."

A rise in coronavirus cases over the last month saw plans revised with pilot events restricted to 1,000 people.

The National League have always said that the season will not start on October 3 if fans are unable to attend.

National League clubs have been told that if supporters are not allowed to attend, their season will not begin.

Last week up to 1,000 people were to be allowed to watch friendly matches at Dagenham & Redbridge, Yeovil Town, Dartford and Notts County.

The league had previously received approval to hold pilot games with fans this week, but that decision has now been put on hold.

It will be a bitter blow to the Linnets, especially with spectators being allowed to attend fixtures at Steps 3 to 6, provided the crowd does not exceed 30 per cent of a club's minimum ground grading capacity.

Sports are to be asked by officials for their assessments of the financial impact of playing behind closed doors for several more months, while the government is said to be keen to work with sports on a possible support package that would enable them to survive.

National League chairman Brian Barwick has previously said he feared clubs would "suffer severe economic hardship" if spectators were not allowed to return to stadiums in the near future, with teams at that level more reliant on matchday income.

The 2019-20 National League regular season was brought to an early conclusion because of the coronavirus pandemic, although play-off games in its three divisions were played behind closed doors in July and August.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to address the country at 8pm this evening to announce tighter restrictions.

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