Sporting events in England could be opened up to spectators starting in October.

No fans have been allowed at stadiums since sports, including the Premier League and international cricket between England and the West Indies, resumed in the country in June after a three-month shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says “from October we intend to bring back audiences in stadia in a COVID-secure way subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”

The World Snooker Championship, the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival and two county cricket friendly matches will be among pilot events, starting later this month.

The government said the “events have been carefully selected to represent a range of sports and indoor and outdoor spectator environments”.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said he recognised that for many sports, fans were their “lifeblood”.

“Although it will remain some time before venues are full to capacity, this is a major step in the right direction for the resumption of live spectator sport across the country,” he said.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has previously said top-flight clubs are keen to act as “test pilots” for any experiments around a phased reopening of stadiums.

Depending on how many fans are allowed back, it could be a major boost to the finances of clubs in the English Football League, who rely heavily on matchday revenue.