FANS will be allowed to return to football grounds next month, it has been confirmed.

Up to 4,000 fans are set to be allowed at outdoor events in the lowest-risk areas when the current lockdown is replaced by a tiered system of Covid-19 restrictions, on December 2.

Reports suggest that up to 2,000 fans will be allowed in tier two areas, but none will be permitted in areas that are in tier three.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now confirmed the return of grounds, once the current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

When Colchester fans can return to the JobServe Community Stadium - and how many - will depend on the tier Essex is in next week, when the national lockdown ends.

Johnson has confirmed that in tiers 1 and 2 "spectator sports will be free to resume" with capacity limits to apply and with social distancing.

A maximum of 4,000 fans are set to be allowed at outdoor events in the lowest-risk areas when the national lockdown is replaced by a tiered system of Covid-19 restrictions on December 2.

Johnson has made a statement on the return of fans in the House of Commons this afternoon, with MPs to vote on it later in the week.

An EFL spokesman said: “The EFL welcomes today’s decision by the Government to allow the return of supporters, capped at 4,000 in tier 1 and 2,000 in tier 2 when the national lockdown ends next week.  We now look forward to the re-opening of some EFL Club stadiums as we finally welcome back fans after eight long months away.

“Whilst today’s news is subject to regional restrictions, it is an important step in achieving a return to normal, alongside it being crucial to addressing the significant revenue gap left by a lack of spectators and other revenue streams as a result of the pandemic.

“The restrictions in place does mean that not all Clubs will get the opportunity straight away to re-open their turnstiles and we still await further guidance from DCMS to understand what areas will be placed in which tier which will not be available until later this week. In the meantime we are doing all we can to ensure we are ready to return when allowed to do so.  

“Having worked closely in developing the appropriate safety guidance in conjunction with DCMS and the SGSA, alongside undertaking a series of pilot events hosting up to 1,000 spectators in September, EFL Clubs have already demonstrated that they are well positioned to deliver the safe return of fans

“Exit analysis shows that those who attended pilot fixtures felt overwhelmingly safe and adhered to the necessary protocols and the EFL will continue its work with Clubs to ensure that they have the most up to-date safety procedures in place to welcome supporters back as soon as the relevant restrictions are lifted.”

Elite sport has continued behind closed doors during England's current lockdown.

But Colchester United fans have not attended a live U's match since their side's 2-0 home defeat to Cheltenham Town, in February.

If the news is confirmed, U's fans will be hoping that they might be able to attend their side's home clash with Grimsby Town, on Saturday, December 5.

That will be the first Colchester game to take place once the current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Colchester are in home action in League Two next Tuesday (December 1) against Crawley Town - the day before the national lockdown restrictions are to be lifted.