A council has confirmed that all official football club training, as well as matches, can re-start in time for the new season.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the Lancashire FA have agreed to allow affiliated clubs to recommence their seasons and have brought in new restrictions to help minimise the spread of the coronavirus,

The restrictions include ensuring there is the necessary track and trace provisions, that venues hosting the clubs are Covid secure and that no socialising takes place on site before or after a match or training.

While the move means that official clubs can get back on the pitch, the government guidelines do not allow for groups to meet for ‘unofficial’ kickabouts in parks and open spaces.

The Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Young People, Councillor Damian Talbot, said: "We had the fantastic news this week that our sports and leisure facilities can now re-open right across the borough and we’re really pleased that the football season can also get underway too.

"We know that exercise is not only good for health and wellbeing, but for mental health too and after the past few months, this is a really good step in the right direction.

"I’d like to thank the Lancashire FA and clubs for working closely on this with us.

"The measures in-place will help reduce the risk of the spread of the virus while allowing us to get back to a little bit of normality – something we are all working towards and looking forward to."

The council’s 3G pitches at Witton Park have now re-opened in time for the new season and all council-owned leisure facilities re-opened on Monday.

Cllr Talbot added: "The clubs couldn’t wait to get back playing and we’ve already seen some training sessions and friendlies taking place with the new measures being used.

"We really want a good season for them and their players and it’s important that everyone is aware of the regulations in place to ensure they’re followed closely.

"Just as it is on the pitch, to be successful this really has to be a team approach – here at the Council we’ve always said we can’t fight this terrible illness on our own.

"The measures will help keep players and their family and friends safe and it’s important that we all continue with the simple steps like washing hands, social distancing and getting tested if they have any symptoms of Coronavirus."

The Lancashire FA has issued detailed guidance to all of the clubs, with players from right across the borough, including high risk areas, allowed to take part in official club sport.

New Government regulations mean that from Monday it will be against the law to meet in groups of more than six, indoors or outdoors, at home or elsewhere.

However, organised team sport is one of only a small number of exceptions.

Residents living in high risk areas in Blackburn, are still unable to meet with anyone from outside of their household to socialise.