COLCHESTER United chairman Robbie Cowling says the prospect of supporters potentially returning to their matches next season is 'exciting news'.

But the U's supremo admits the process of allowing fans back in grounds is a complicated one.

Football supporters have been unable to attend matches since March, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Colchester played out both legs of their League Two play-off semi-final against Exeter City last month behind closed doors, due to coronavirus.

It has been reported that some fans will be allowed to attend matches in English football's top four divisions next season, whilst complying with social distancing guidelines.

Cowling says that would be great news - but admits planning it is a complex scenario.

Cowling told the U's website: "There is also talk about allowing a limited number of fans to attend games. 25% of capacity has been a figure that has been discussed as realistic to comply with the 1m+ social distancing rules that are currently in place.

"This is also exciting news but getting my head around how that will actually be possible and how we increase or reduce the percentage if things get better or worse is already giving me a headache."

Colchester are waiting to hear when the League Two 2020-21 season will start.

The EFL are in talks with their clubs about the start date, with two possible dates put forward for the big kick-off - either August 29 or September 12.

Cowling said: "I think this is really exciting news so long as the very strict testing protocol that was in place during the Play-Offs is relaxed. Otherwise, it will just be too expensive for League Two clubs.

"Of course we will still apply strict protocols regarding our facilities and how they are used for training and for playing matches.

"These protocols proved very successful during the Play-Offs where no new infections were detected by those that trained and played together and adhered to the methods that were introduced."

Meanwhile, Cowling has ruled out the prospect of the newly-formed Club United fund buying players or paying their wages.

The U's chairman last month revealed that supporters who are due refunds for this season will get the chance to decide how to spend the cash in the fund.

Cowling has announced they will create the system to allow fans to divert their refunds into a ring-fenced fund - and then propose how it is spent by the club.

He added: "The Club United idea seems to have been well received but just to clear up a few ideas that have been emailed to me about the fund.

"It will never be used to buy players or to pay their wages. Nor will it be used to pay off a manager/first team coach or to pay their wages.

"However, any ideas to buy some really posh heated seats outside the Chairman’s Suite will be given top priority."