Government officials remain in talks with football's governing bodies over the possibility of fans returning to matches in the near future

Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County have been told "the next 48 hours are critical" when it comes to the possibility of fans returning to stadiums.

Supporters have not been allowed to attend EFL matches since March owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

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However, it was hoped that some fans would be allowed to watch games live as of October 1 as part of a process that would see supporters gradually return to the terraces.

But given the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom, government officials are holding fresh talks with football's governing bodies over how best to allow fans to return.

And the EFL's head of policy John Nagle has written to the 72 member clubs - including the Bluebirds, Swans and the Exiles, setting out what happens next.

"We now understand that the next 48 hours are likely to be critical in terms of determining the direction of travel on this issue," Nagle wrote in a letter

"Amongst other things, this will include a meeting between the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden MP and senior administrators from across sport, which will be attended by EFL chairman Rick Parry."

The letter states that EFL clubs will make a collective loss of £200million if fans do not return in the 2020-21 season, and have already lost £50m in gate income from last term.

"Failure to (allow fans to return), or to at least provide any credible roadmap back to the return of fans in the near future, could have catastrophic consequences for many football clubs and the communities they represent," the letter warned.

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