Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has explained why football fans are still unable to attend matches.

The Hertsmere MP appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning (October 12) to explain various coronavirus issues including the three tier risk categories which are expected to be announced by the Prime Minister later today.

Near the end of the interview, Mr Dowden was asked what is stopping 1,000 fans from safely watching inside a 60,000 seat-stadium which is outside and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

In response, Mr Dowden said that was something the Government ideally wanted to happen and had been working towards.

He added: “We’ve gone through this phased reopening of football, for example very early on football was one of the first sports to return behind closed doors and we facilitated that with games free to view on the BBC.”

Mr Dowden said the next stage was due to be October 1, which would have allowed fans back in “socially distanced circumstances” and said the Government worked closely with clubs to “mitigate” the risk.

He added: “Ultimately though against this backdrop of rapidly rising infections, I think your viewers will appreciate that now is just not the time to do that and to add to the risk of infections spreading.”

Mr Dowden said there are risks associated with allowing 1,000 fans in a 60,000 stadium and said at the time of October 1 the Government was looking to impose further restrictions.

He again reiterated that “now is not the time” for fans to come back to the stadiums.

But Mr Dowden went on to reassure viewers that he has been working “intensively” to see when it would be possible to safely open stadiums to fans once coronavirus is under control.

He added: “At this moment against the backdrop of rapidly rising infections, remember it’s not just in the stadium. It is the journey to and from.

"We didn’t feel now was the appropriate time.”