The English Football League (EFL) will stage pilot events with 1,000 socially distanced fans in attendance this weekend, pending approval from the government.

The EFL comprises the Championship, League One and League Two. The organisation has asked clubs that wish to stage pilots to submit requests by today, 15 September, in order for plans to be signed off in time.

In a letter to clubs this morning, EFL’s head of policy John Nagle said: “We cannot guarantee at this stage that all clubs that would like to stage a pilot will be given permission to do so, as only a limited number will be approved. We are still in discussions with regard to pilot matches on other dates.”

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will meet with sports bodies later this week to discuss the return of larger numbers of fans to sport from 1 October.

On Thursday 10 September, the government capped a number of planned sport pilot events at 1,000 capacity following a rise in virus cases. These included the Rugby Union match between Gloucester and Harlequins, among others.

A spokesman for EFL said the organisation is “in discussions with the government about the pilot programme which may include a limited number of further pilot matches during September with capacity limited to 1,000.

“The League is clear in its view that social distancing can be applied safely in football stadia and that having crowds at matches is an absolutely essential part of helping to protect club finances, which remain under extreme pressure.”