By Andrew Atkinson Leader Exclusive

Fans could be set to return to watch football in stadiums – amid the banning of spectators since the return of behind closed doors fixtures in June – following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020-21 season – yet to release fixtures – could see Premier League and Championship games kick-off, with ‘test events’ being staged in the current campaign in July. Strict observations of health and safety guidelines will be put in place.

Football is amongst sports mooted to see the return of spectators, under an observation programme to formally open stadiums to fans, in July.

If the test events are successful sports events would be allowed to see the return of spectators for the 2020-21 campaign.

Stadiums would not be allowed to open to full capacity.

Following the postponement of the 2019-20 football season in March, due to the coronavirus pandemic, fixtures returned behind closed doors last month and will be completed in July.

The decision to return to action went ahead amid thrashed out lengthy talks between the government, clubs and the Professional Football Association (PFA).

A handful of games remain in the Premier League and Championship, with Champions League places still up for grabs; Leeds and WBA vying for promotion, and a plethora of clubs rallying to reach the Championship play-offs.

Annually the football season kicks-off in England in August. Under the present circumstances of COVID-19 the 2020-21 season has been mooted to start in September.