THE programme to start reopening of stadiums next month has been put on hold, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has announced.

Seven grounds hosted test events across the EFL last weekend with crowds of 1,000.

Oxford United had intended to use their next home game, against Crewe Alexandra on October 3, as their pilot scheme.

Yesterday Accrington Stanley confirmed they had applied for permission to use their meeting with the U's on Saturday as part of the second batch of test fixtures.

All that now looks in doubt, as the government tightens restrictions to deal with the rising numbers of coronavirus cases.

Gove told BBC Breakfast: "It is the case 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.

"But it is the case that we just need to be cautious at the moment and I think a mass reopening at this stage wouldn't be appropriate."

He added: "We were looking at a staged programme of more people returning. We're looking at how we can for the moment pause that programme.

"What we do want is to make sure as and when circumstances allow get more people back.

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

"We also recognise that sport is a vital part of the life of this nation and are looking at what we can do to support our athletes and our great clubs through what will be a challenging time."