OXFORD United are planning for the return of full crowds from the start of next season following last night's government announcement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated capacity limits are set to be removed at sporting venues from July 19, as part of the next easing of restrictions.

It would see full crowds return to the Kassam Stadium for the first time since February 2020.

A final decision will not be made until next Monday, but the U's are hopeful they can welcome back unrestricted numbers for their first home game of the season, against Charlton Athletic on Saturday, August 14.

A club statement sounded a note of cautious optimism, adding: "This is the news that football has been waiting for.

"It will allow us once again to welcome back not only our own fans but also, hopefully, away supporters as well as meaning the Yellow Army can follow Karl Robinson’s team on the road.

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"The club will continue to plan for the return of full crowds, but while we await confirmation there must also be a note of caution.

"The last 18 months have seen so many sudden changes and we take nothing for granted until the proposed relaxation becomes firm legislation."

The statement added: "However, the overwhelming feeling at the club is not caution but elation.

"Football without our fans has been a poor shadow of the game we all know and love."

United have placed a 'pandemic promise' on season tickets for 2021/22, pledging a pro-rata refund if fans miss games due to capacity restrictions.

Fans have until 5pm today to secure their seat for the coming campaign, with general sale opening shortly.

The U's host Peterborough United in a pre-season 'double-header' on Tuesday, July 27, in their only friendly at the Kassam Stadium.

That will remain behind closed doors, due to ongoing safety work 'that will ensure that when fans do return they can do so in the safest possible environment'.

United's first competitive matches of the season are their Sky Bet League One opener at Cambridge United on August 7 and the Carabao Cup first round trip to Burton Albion four days later.