The top bodies in English football have come together to call on the Government to re-think their stance on allowing football supporters back into grounds.

That comes as Rovers chief executive Steve Waggott believes a financial rescue package must be made available for ailing EFL clubs as supporters continue to be locked out.

It was hoped that from October 1 the phased return of fans would begin, with 11 test events having been deemed a success. However, rising Covid rates, which saw Rovers’ plans for a test event at Ewood knocked back, mean those have been shelved, leaving clubs fearing the prospect of playing the whole of the 2020/21 season behind closed doors.

The chief executives of the Premier League, EFL and Football Association have been joined by the FA Director of Women’s Professional Game in calling on a Government re-think, stating: “we have demonstrated that we can deliver matches safely.”

A #LetFansIn campaign has been launched on social media, with well in excess of 100,000 having signed a petition to urge the Government to discuss again the prospect of fans being allowed back into stadia.

The open letter concedes ‘the health of the nation remains our overriding priority’ but argues ‘we have been working with experts to make our grounds as safe as, if not safer than, any other public activity currently allowed’.

There is not just a financial aspect to clubs, with the open letter stating the return of supporters would be boost to local jobs, livelihoods, regional businesses and also the national economy, as well as mental health benefits to supporters who have been unable to attend.

The letter states that football should follow in the footsteps of major arts and music venues which have been allowed to run socially-distanced events indoors, and ‘in highly regulated and stewarded outdoor environments’ they believe football should be given the same privileges.

They add: “Stadium environments can be modified and carefully managed. Measures could include screening spectators before they enter the ground, installing temperature checks, requiring masks to be worn, one-way systems and providing a code of conduct.”

The four bodies have called on the Government to at the very least provide a roadmap for clubs, and supporters, on the possible timeframes, with the phased return having been suspended indefinitely.

The letter added: “We will continue to urge the relevant authorities to let us, together, use innovative ways to bring fans safely back into football grounds, starting with a return of the test event programme. If we do so, then the benefits will be felt not just by fans but throughout society and the economy.”

Rovers have backed the petition that has been widely circulated, with captain Elliott Bennett also adding his voice to the campaign.

As the wait goes on for a decision over the viability of a return for supporters, Rovers CEO Steve Waggott says: ‘there’s got to be a financial rescue package.”

Waggott believes the Government, Premier League and Football Association all need to work alongside the EFL to come up with a package that can help affected clubs.

The Championship, alongside the Premier League, finished the final nine games of last season after the re-start, while the tiers below that opted to curtail their seasons.

Waggott doesn’t feel that going into hibernation is an option, not least to satisfy the broadcasters and rights holders whose money has helped keep the game going.

He said: “I think the three main parties involved have got to be Government, because they have to recognise the breadth and spread of what a football club does on matchday and non-matchdays.

“The Football Association have to be involved, and the Premier League, and they’re the three parties that have to come together and see how they can assist the Football League.

“We need a solution, we need a rescue package, and we need it pretty quick.

“I know (EFL chair) Rick Parry is working closely on that with the three parties and we have to get something on the table to give owners the hope that people are going to be supportive of the industries, and others, because we’re not the only ones suffering.”