The Government has again delayed increasing the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor gatherings, meaning that sporting attendances must remain at 200.

The GAA, FAI and other sporting organisations had hoped that the numbers that could attend would be increased to 500, but the cabinet have decided to delay again in the face of an increase in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the size of crowds gathering will remain at 200 for outdoors and 50 for indoors and that the evidence will be reviewed again in three weeks' time.

The 200-person limit includes players, backroom teams, media, officials, stewards and the rest of the volunteer core that assemble to stage matches - meaning that most GAA club matches have had a maximum of 100 fans in attendance.

The SSE Airtricity League has also resumed with the lower limits but hopes were high that Cabinet would this evening give the green light to attendances of up to 500 to attend sporting events.

Rugby also aimed to benefit as the Pro14 resumes on 22 August. Leinster v Munster is due to take place on that date in the Aviva, with Connacht v Ulster in the same venue on the next day.

This will now not be the case as the Government acts with extreme caution in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases around the country.

Phase 4 of the easing of restrictions had originally been planned for mid-July before an increase in the coronavirus reproduction number led to reopening being delayed.

GAA president John Horan last month made a plea for crowds of 500 to be allowed at his association's larger venues but there was no response from Government.

Today's news comes just hours after the GAA decided to cancel its 2020 season ticket scheme due to ongoing uncertainty amid Covid-19 restrictions ahead of the inter-county season resuming in October.

A letter from the Croke Park ticket office read: "Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and with no clarity on the potential number of spectators allowed in attendance for our proposed inter-county championship later in the year we have been left with no option but to cancel your GAA season ticket for 2020."

But, for now, the development of facilitating 300 extra spectators at games will be a considerable lift for clubs and county boards.

The limit of 200 had placed massive pressure on clubs whose officials and administrators had to decide who receives a ticket to games.

Many clubs took the decision not to allow any spectators attend in a bid to avoid internal tensions.The crowd limit had obvious knock-on effects from a financial perspective too.

Last month it was reported that the decision to halt entry to phase four until at least 10 August meant that Cork GAA lost out on an estimated €206k in gate receipts.