A limited number of spectators will be permitted to attend specified non-league and women’s matches from Saturday.

The Football Association has announced a phased return of fans at clubs playing in steps three to six of the men’s National League System (NLS) and teams in tiers three to four of the women’s football pyramid.

Spectators will be allowed through the turnstiles for games played between August 22 and 30, providing their number does not exceed 15 per cent of the minimum ground grading capacity at these levels.

From August 31, clubs will be permitted to allow spectators to attend fixtures provided their number does not exceed 30 per cent of the minimum ground grading capacity.

If a club does have any fixtures before August 30, they must play at least one pre-season or competitive match at the 15 per cent threshold, before moving on to the 30 per cent limit.

Fans have been unable to attend matches played in the top 10 tiers of men’s football since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March.

For Northern Premier League clubs the FA’s guidance indicates that in the Premier Division a maximum of 300 spectators will be allowed at phase one before increasing to 600 from August 31.

In the First Division North West, that number starts at 200 before rising to 400.

For both tiers of the North West Counties League it is capped at 150 supporters before moving up to 300.

NPL chairman Mark Harris said: “The news that fans can be admitted is very welcome and will help clubs to start the slow recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

“However, the onus is on clubs and fans to follow the guidance and to comply fully with the procedures established by every club.

“The challenge now is to ensure that clubs keep fans safe, and ensure maximum compliance if we are to show that football can be trusted and thereby justify raising the capacity limits.”

Tier three of the women’s game comprises the National League Northern Premier Division and the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division, with four divisions in the level below.

The phased return of spectators at these levels was confirmed by the governing body following discussions with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority.

It will remain under constant review in line with Government guidelines and, if necessary, amended accordingly.