THE Government insist they are still “planning for the best” after announcing the return of spectators to sports events from October 1 is under review.

It comes as gatherings of more than six people in England will be banned from Monday in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases to levels last seen during the national lockdown.

A number of pilot events are scheduled ahead of a wider return of sports spectators on a socially-distanced basis from the start of next month.

It is understood events which have already been arranged, including this weekend’s League Two game between Cambridge and Carlisle, will be limited to a maximum of 1,000 people with social distancing measures in place.

While organised team sport will proceed, following the recent increase in infections, plans for the anticipated return of fans to grounds from the start of October will be reviewed, as will those for attending conferences.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined changes at a Downing Street news conference, where he was joined by England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser.

Mr Johnson said: “At the present time we must also I am afraid revise plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month and review our intention to return audiences to stadiums and conference centres from October 1.

“But that doesn’t mean we are going to scrap the programme entirely, we are just going to have to review it and abridge it and the Culture Secretary will say more about that shortly.”

Following the Prime Minister’s press conference, Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, posted a statement on Twitter maintaining the government were continuing to “plan for the best”, but also stressing no firm decisions had yet been made.

“Further to the PM’s announcement we are reviewing the list of proposed sports pilots ahead of 1 Oct, in light of the increased number of cases. Details of changes will be announced shortly,” Dowden said on Twitter.

“We are keeping under review further easements proposed from 1 Oct but no changes have been announced today – and we continue to plan for the best.

“As I said on Sunday and the PM confirmed today, work continues round the clock on the moonshot project with the ambition of having audiences back much closer to normal by Christmas.”

Today’s racing at Doncaster was the first to allow in spectators since March.

Other scheduled pilot events are a Women’s Super League football match between West Ham and Arsenal on Saturday, football’s non-league finals day on September 27, race meetings at Warwick and Newmarket on September 21 and 24 respectively, a basketball exhibition match in Newcastle on September 18 and a speedway event in Ipswich on September 26.