Barnsley are hopeful of having fans at Oakwell by the end of 2020.
After the national lockdown ends on Wednesday, professional sports teams are allowed to play in front of 4,000 fans if their area is classified by the government as tier one, 2,000 in tier two but behind-closed-doors in tier three, which South Yorkshire is.
The government plans to review tiers on December 16, with the only Oakwell match after that in 2020 against Huddersfield on Boxing Day.
In tier one or two, Barnsley’s roughly 8,000 season ticket holders would be allowed to games in 'bubbles' of up to six with tickets allocated via a ballot. Before that, they will have to hold a 'pilot' event with 1,000 fans. Those who miss out in the ballot can watch on iFollow.
Chief executive Dane Murphy said: “Our hope is that, before the New Year, we can get fans back in. We want our fans and our community back in as soon as possible. We have had our finger on the go button for a while but we have to make sure that we take every step we are being asked to. We have put a lot of time and a lot of effort – a lot of sweat equity if you will – into making sure we can adapt to whatever the rules are.
“Financial gain is important but we mainly want our supporters to be back and Oakwell to be rocking. With all the wins we have had recently, it is still a little hollow without people there.
“The main aim is to make sure people can be back safely and securely as soon as possible. It’s frustrating that we are still in tier three and we have to sit on our hands. Hopefully we get positive news on December 16.”
With different areas of the country being in different tiers, some clubs will have home supporters behind them as well as the potential financial boost of supporters buying tickets and any food or drinks that are available.
Murphy added: “I understand the claims about sporting integrity and that it’s not a level playing field if we play at another club’s ground with home fans and we have no home fans at our ground. But we don’t feel that way.
“We have to start somewhere, there is no barometer for this situation.
“If we start complaining about other clubs having fans when we can’t, it will never get off the ground. I think most people are extremely happy that the government are allowing fans back in football stadia around the country.”
Fans will be able to form bubbles online from Thursday December 3 at eticketing.co.uk/barnsleyfc.