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The British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa is set to proceed as originally scheduled this summer, according to a report in the Telegraph this afternoon.
It looked as if the tour would be relocated to the UK and Ireland but it appears that this has now been dismissed by the Lions board due to “time, logistic and cost reasons” and uncertainty as to whether fans will be allowed to attend or not.
An official announcement is expected within the next 48 hours, according to the report.
Even if the matches have to be played behind closed doors in South Africa, the report adds that the decision to proceed would offer the “least risky financial option” as all the contracts are in place and broadcasters Sky Sports told the Lions board in January that was their preferred option.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has also declared its full support for proceeding with the tour as planned in a statement.
“If it is possible, the RFU is supportive of the Lions tour going ahead in South Africa as planned,” An RFU spokesperson told the Telegraph.
“Ultimately the decision will be made by the Lions Board together with SARU, and the welfare of players will be central to any decision made.”
The Lions are due to open their tour against the Western Stormers in Cape Town on July 3.