SUPPORTERS of Southern and Western League clubs have been given the green light to return to grounds from this coming Saturday - provided that Covid-19 safety measures are in place.

This week the Football Association (FA) said it would “step up efforts to get fans back into stadiums as soon as possible”, and the Southern League - in which Taunton Town play - made a statement which revealed that the FA had “submitted three proposals to DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] for the safe return of fans”.

On Tuesday evening, Nigel Huddleston - the minister for sport, tourism and heritage - tweeted: “We’ve clarified guidance for organisers of non-elite sports events to help them admit spectators safely - with social distancing.

“The FA definition of non-elite means football clubs from Level 7 (below National League North/South) can admit some spectators.”

Now the FA has released updated guidelines for clubs at Steps 3 to 6 of the National League System - covering the Southern League and Western League - to allow a phased and limited return of spectators.

Between August 22-30, fans may attend games, “providing that their number does not exceed 15 per cent of the minimum ground grading capacity at these levels or respective figures set out within the FA’s updated guidelines”.

From August 31, that 15 per cent is to increase to 30 per cent.

All clubs at those levels must have a designated Covid-19 officer, complete and publish bespoke risk assessments and action plans, and arrange support for Track and Trace efforts before letting fans in.

The full FA guidance can be found here.