It had previously been hoped that supporters could return to limited-capacity football grounds from October 1, with stadia being 25 to 33% full.
Yet tighter restrictions due to a spike in coronavirus cases has pushed that back.
Michael Gove confirmed that the programme of welcoming fans back to matches has been paused.
“It was the case that we were looking at a staged programme of more people returning,” Gove told BBC News.
“It wasn’t the case that we’d have stadiums thronged with fans.
“We’re looking for the moment at how we can pause that programme.
“What we do want to do is ensure that, as and when circumstances allow, we get more people back because the virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors.
“But, again, it’s in the nature of major sporting events that there’s a lot of mingling.
“People look back at the beginning of the pandemic and look at some of the major sporting events asking the question of why they were allowed to go ahead.
“One of the things we must do now, whatever the wisdom of the decisions made then, is to look at sporting events now with caution.
“We also recognise sport is a vital part of this nation and we’re looking at everything we can do to support our athletes and clubs through what will be a challenging time.”
A report in the Times claims sport leaders foresaw the announcement coming and have asked the prime minister for a £15billion rescue package – similar to that announced in July for the arts and culture sector.
With the chief medical and scientific advisers for the government warning the new coronavirus measures are likely to last for six months, many are preparing for behind closed doors rules on stadiums being in place for the rest of the year.
A coalition of 100 sport bodies, including the Football Association, Rugby Football Association, England and Wales cricket board, Lawn Tennis Association, Rugby Football League and many more have written to the prime minister asking for financial support.
Along with behind-closed-doors games that will be shown on free-to-air terrestrial TV, Premier League football will once again be split across three broadcasters: Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime.
- Shop the latest offers and deals on Sky TV bundles – Sky are offering two new bundle sport bundle deals ahead of the upcoming season. The Don’t Miss Kick Off bundle and the Catch Every Match bundle.
- Shop the latest BT Sport packages – Three BT Sport packages are available: Sport, Big Sport and VIP. £5 a month reductions are currently available on the Sport and Big Sport packages while the VIP also gives customers access to Sky Sports.
- Start a free 30 day Amazon Prime trial – Last season, their twenty live games took place over just two matchdays in December which meant the action could be enjoyed with for ‘free’, provided customers ended their Prime subscription at the end of its trial.
If you want to watch a particular match or day of action, you can also access Sky Sports through use of a NOW TV Sport Pass.
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According to the report, the letter says: “To play our fullest role, we must survive and stabilise. To do this, we require a comprehensive support package for the sport and physical sector to aid its recovery. This package must combine investment, tax incentives and regulatory reform.”
Boris Johnson is expected to announce further restrictions from as early as today.