The ban on spectators attending Bundesliga matches was extended by German health ministers on Monday in another signal that British hopes of getting crowds back by October 1 may be overly ambitious.
Germany's federal and state governments agreed spectators should stay away until at least the end of October due to second wave fears around the Covid-19 pandemic, a source told Reuters news agency.
The announcement will concern figures at the Premier League, who had been in regular contact with counterparts in Germany's top tier during the Project Restart resumption behind closed doors.
The Bundesliga season restarted in mid-May after a suspension of more than two months, becoming the first European league to resume under strict rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
"We need to stay vigilant. In the current situation, spectators in the stadiums would be the wrong signal," Health Minister Jens Spahn said in a tweet. Spahn pointed to a rising number of new coronavirus cases over the past few days and warned against taking any avoidable risks that could further increase the infection rate.
Government officials have repeatedly urged Germans to stick with such precautionary measures as social distancing and the wearing of face masks, but the rising number of infections suggests some have become less careful during the summer months. In England, ministers face a race against time to ensure enough testing is carried out at stadiums ahead of a proposed October 1 return for crowds, after spectator pilots were cancelled at the snooker, cricket and horse racing two weekends ago by Boris Johnson.
Whitehall sources said there remained no change to current plans on Monday night. "We'll continue to work closely with the sector, including on any additional pilots that will be required, in order that we can build up to and prepare for full, socially distanced reopenings for sporting events from October 1 if it is safe to do so," the source added.
An extended delay on the return of fans would spell disaster for clubs outside the very elite, with many football and rugby venues estimating they would still be making losses even when 40 per cent full.
Nigel Huddleston, the Sports Minister, warned last week that clubs can expect little more support after "Government schemes to the tune of 10s if not hundreds of millions of pounds" were taken out over the past four months. "There are always demands for additional pockets of support, but the priority has to be to help get sport back on its own feet," he said. "The most important way we can do that is getting people back in stadia and getting the games going again."
Goodwood, the Kia Oval, Edgbaston and the Crucible were forced to abandon plans at just 24 hours' notice two Fridays ago following Government warnings that lockdown easing had been put back by at least a fortnight.
The pilots were halted after the Prime Minister announced "our assessment is that we should squeeze that brake pedal" following recent surges in Europe, America and, to a lesser extent, England.