Manchester United say they are ready to welcome fans in Covid safe manner

Old Trafford can hold over 70,000 fans at full capacity. Credit: PA

Manchester United have said they are ready to welcome back fans to Old Trafford as soon as the UK government gives the green light for stadiums to reopen.

The club have said they have modified the 76,000 capacity stadium to fit just 23,500 fans so that social distancing can be maintained.

Plans for stadiums to be reopened in October were postponed by the government because of the resurgence in COVID-19 cases – leaving fans of all clubs uncertain when they will next be able to cheer on their team from the stands.

Collette Roche, Manchester United Chief Operating Officer, said the club had put rigorous plans in place to make Old Trafford as safe as possible for fans when they are allowed back.

United's last game against Chelsea was the latest to be played in front of no fans. Credit: PA

Roche told Sky Sports News: "It's quite bemusing to understand why people can gather in other settings such as on an aeroplane or in a restaurant, or even in a cinema to watch football, when we know we've got the plans and the process is ready to deliver a matchday here safely.

"We spent around two months working with the government guidelines to develop the right processes and measures to make sure that we can have around 23,500 people in this stadium safely social distancing."

She added that United had plans to introduce staggered arrival times for fans and temperature checks before entry to minimise risks.

No football fans have been allowed into stadiums to watch professional football since before lockdown in March.

Premier League football had been free to watch via subscription channels following last season's resumption in the summer, but since then a controversial extra £14.95 pay-per-view fee has been introduced for some games.

Fans boycotting these games have raised more than £300,000 for charity with the TV scheme set to continue at least until next month's international break.