HOPES of an October return to AESSEAL New York Stadium for Rotherham United fans have been dashed.
The Championship Millers and all other clubs in England were keen to see supporters being allowed to start attending home games again in limited numbers during the coronavirus pandemic as early as next month.
Pilot schemes last week appeared to be a success, generating optimism that spectators could soon be back in greater numbers as part of a phased approach.
However the October 1 start date has now been shelved as the Government react to the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove confirmed this morning that plans have been ‘paused’.
He told BBC Breakfast: “It was the case that 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.
“We're looking at how we can for the moment pause that programme. We have to look at sporting events with caution."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to lay out a more detailed approach for the coming months later today.
The announcement puts at risk clubs in League One and League Two who are struggling to survive without matchday income.
The Millers were promoted from the third tier last season and that has helped to safeguard their future.
Chairman Tony Stewart told the Advertiser earlier this month: “Going up has been a saviour really. I don’t mind saying this: financially, we’re better off playing in the Championship with no crowd than we would be playing in League One with a full crowd. That’s the difference in the two divisions.”