EFL pilot event at Hull KCOM Stadium cancelled due to rising coronavirus cases

Another of the EFL's pilot events to test the return of spectators has been cancelled, with Hull's match against Crewe now back behind closed doors on public health grounds.

On Wednesday the league confirmed 10 matches where up to 1,000 spectators would be allowed access this weekend across the three divisions, but that is now down to seven after Hull were refused permission to go ahead.

A statement from the League One club, who said they had intended to admit 600 supporters to the game, read:

Unfortunately, due to the rising infection rate in Hull, we have been unable to receive approval from Hull City Council Public Health. Naturally, whilst we are disappointed that we will not be able to welcome supporters into the KCOM Stadium this Saturday, we will continue to work closely with all of the relevant bodies in a bid to welcome supporters back to the KCOM Stadium as soon as possible.

Club statement

The director of public health at Hull City Council said the local infection rate stands at 15.3 per 100,000 people, up from 4.2 per 100,000 last week.

There was more positive news from rugby league, with four Betfred Super League fixtures selected as test events.

Members of staff sanitise seats in-between Super League matches Credit: Press Association

Up to 1,000 spectators will be allowed to attend the Super League matches on September 30 between Wigan and St Helens, Castleford and Hull, Huddersfield and Hull KR, and Leeds and Catalans Dragons.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said in a statement from the Rugby Football League:

We recognise that many RFL clubs are operating on very tight financial margins and the professional game is facing unprecedented pressure but we are doing all we can to help.

Nigel Huddleston, Sports minister

He added: "On top of the recent £16million emergency support we have provided to safeguard the immediate future of the sport, I am pleased that we are working closely with the RFL to run a number of capped, Covid secure, and socially distanced pilots during the remainder of September. This will help us continue to build the evidence base to assess how fans can return in greater numbers, as soon as it is safe to do so."

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer added: "The return of crowds is vital to sports including rugby league. Pilot events are steps in the right direction, demonstrating that socially distanced crowds can be managed, and we are delighted that rugby league will add to this learning across the sports sector."