OXFORD United are hoping the English Football League (EFL) can deliver financial assistance to ease the “enormous consequences” of an extended spell playing behind closed doors.

A postponement of the planned reopening of stadia in October was part of a series of restrictions announced yesterday.

When addressing the House of Commons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it could last for six months as they attempt to combat a second wave of coronavirus cases.

It is already nearly seven months since the U’s last played a home game with supporters.

They had been intending to use the next match at the Kassam Stadium, against Crewe Alexandra on October 3, as a test event with a crowd of 1,000.

But that has now been put on hold, potentially until next March.

That is beyond what United had initially felt was a worst-case scenario – with supporters being shut out until just after the new year.

Niall McWilliams, the club’s managing director, said: “Our financial planning was partial crowds returning from January.

“However, we did plan for no crowds this season – but there’s a difference between planning and funding it.

“I’m disappointed, but not at all surprised by the news. It was almost inevitable once they started restricting other things.

“I think it’s got enormous consequences for football in general and Oxford United.

“All the clubs in Leagues One and Two are all reliant on crowd income.

“It’s not good news at all – and that’s an understatement.

“We have to hope the EFL have managed to negotiate a rescue package on our behalf.”

Clubs across the body’s three divisions are due to meet next week, with yesterday’s measures expected to be high on the agenda.

The prime minister did acknowledge the impact the rules would have on sport and suggested the government was looking at ways they could provide assistance.

But whatever is made available for clubs, the burden on United’s shareholders is bound to increase in the short term.

McWilliams said: “We have to be heavily reliant on our shareholders and the Oxfordshire community to keep us in business.

“We’re in the hospitality industry and it’s been hit really hard.

“I would be fibbing if I said I wasn’t concerned. (But) we are still obviously an ambitious club.

“We are becoming more and more well organised and we are still aiming to have a successful season on and off the pitch.”