The weekend of September 12/13 is an increasingly likely start date for Torquay United’s next Vanarama National League season.
English Football League clubs have been voting on two possible dates for their 2020-2021 campaign - August 29/30 and September 12/13 - and the latter is gaining most support.
It is inconceivable that the National League - whose 2019-2020 play-offs get under way behind closed doors this weekend - will restart at a different time from the EFL.
The key factor is the importance of getting fans into stadia - all lower division clubs agree that staging league matches without revenue from supporters is a non-starter.
United have been working for several weeks on different scenarios which will make Plainmoor safe even under Covid-19 ‘safe distancing’ guidelines, especially with few, if any, away supporters likely to travel to South Devon.
There is even talk of the Gulls producing their own branded face masks if needed.
The Premier League, EFL and National League are all under pressure to produce fixture lists soon which will be more congested than usual.
That’s because next season is due to finish on May 8, 2021, to cope with postponed events like the Euros and the Olympic Games.
It will almost certainly mean changes, or even cancellations, to some cup competitions.
Gulls manager Gary Johnson has been hinting that, if next season does start on the second Saturday in September, he will call his players back to training at the start of next month.
By then, United’s players will not have kicked a ball for five months.