The Football Association has identified “potential fixtures” from the elite female game which could serve as pilot events for the return of fans as matches for the first two rounds of the 2020-21 women's football season were unveiled.
Telegraph Sport can reveal the body has submitted fixtures from both the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship to the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport for approval.
Last week, fans were banned from attending pilot matches until at least August 15 in light coronavirus restrictions being reintroduced across parts of northern England following a spike in cases.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said pilots of “larger crowds” at sports venues would not take place, but there is a widespread feeling that women’s football, given its lower crowd attendances, could be suitable for smaller spectator pilots. The average crowd attendance during the WSL 2019-20 season, which was prematurely ended in May due to coronavirus, was 3,072.
It comes as the first two rounds of fixtures for the 2020-21 WSL and women's championship campaigns were revealed on Friday ahead of the return of the elite women's football season, which is set to begin on the weekend of September 5-6.
Chelsea, who were crowned WSL champions on a points-per-game basis after the season was ended in May due to the pandemic, will begin the defence of their title against Manchester United.
Newly promoted Aston Villa welcome Manchester City on the opening weekend of the season, while Tottenham face West Ham and Reading travel to Arsenal.
Liverpool, who were relegated from the WSL after finishing bottom last season, will kick off their campaign in the championship against Durham.
The full fixture list across both leagues will be released in early September, with the season due to start behind closed doors until it is safe for fans to return, with broadcast fixtures and kick-off times still to be decided.
Kelly Simmons, director of the women’s professional game at the FA, said: "Fans have had to wait a while to see some live action and being able to announce the first two rounds of fixtures ahead of so many other leagues was something we really pushed for to build up the excitement ahead of the season starting.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing our players back on the field to show off their talent and showcase the very best of what the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship has to offer.
“My hope is that they will be joined by supporters in our stadiums soon, because fans make the matchday experience even more special.”
All WSL matches which are not selected for broadcast will be made available on the FA’s streaming service, the FA Player. The platform will also show a selected championship match every week.