Cabinet office minister Michael Gove has put the breaks on plans for fans in England to return to sports stadiums from October 1.
Initially there were plans for as many as 1,000 to return to stadiums but with the Covid-19 alert in the UK raising to 4, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Gove have said those plans are paused.
"We have to acknowledge the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen large sporting events," PM Johnson said on Tuesday afternoon.
We will not be able to do this from October 1 and I recognise the implications for our sports clubs, which are the life and soul of our communities."
"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," Gove said on BBC Breakfast.
"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.
“We do want to, in due course, 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,”
Whilst a handful of fans were allowed in to watch Ronnie O’Sullivan win his sixth snooker World Championship title in August, the vast majority of sport in the UK has been played behind closed doors.
The worry now will be how many more sporting organisations will go the way of Macclesfield Town, who were wound up in the High Court last week after a judge was told the club owed £500,000.
The government is expected to ask clubs and organisations how they will be able to cope with playing without fans until next year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to lay out the new guidelines later on Tuesday.