Fans may not to be able to return to watch live sporting events in England until the end of March at the earliest.
At a meeting on Tuesday, sports governing bodies – including those from football, rugby, cricket, Formula 1 and horse racing – were told to prepare for no spectators throughout the winter.
Officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told the meeting, which was attended by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, that the ban on fans will be kept under review.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined a range of new restrictions for the country, including confirmation that plans to allow fans to return to sport from 1 October would not go ahead.
The plans had been placed under review earlier this month after a rise in coronavirus cases.
The UK’s Covid-19 alert level has moved to 4, meaning transmission is “high or rising exponentially”.
The prime minister also said restrictions are likely to remain in place for the next six months.
“We have to acknowledge the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen large sporting events,” said the prime minister.