The British & Irish Lions’ 2021 Tour Of South Africa Is In Danger Of Being Postponed
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The British and Iris Lions’ tour of South Africa next year could be postponed if strict restrictions stay in place because of the ongoing situation with fans unable to attend matches and international travel limited, according to South African (SA) Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.
It was confirmed by organisers in July that the tournament would go ahead as scheduled, with the first Test set to take place on July 24 2021, but recent spikes across the world mean things could be about to change.
Roux said it simply wasn’t “commercially viable” for the tour to go ahead as planned if supporters are unable to travel to South Africa for the series.
“There has been some talk of moving it out [to a new date],” Roux said.
“But our travel advice is that by June/July we should be at what is deemed to be normal international travel. But we are monitoring it on a monthly basis.
“Travelling for international events will likely still be under more pressure than pre-Covid [in July 2021].
“No spectators and people not being able to travel would not make this commercially viable and then we would discuss how we continue with the tour.”
A Lions spokesperson told BBC Sport that as things stand, the tour to go ahead as scheduled, but contingency plans are being put in place
“As recently announced, we are fully intending for the Tour to go ahead as scheduled, but, as you would expect, SA Rugby, in conjunction with the Lions, are contingency planning for all eventualities.”
Registration for the ticket ballot begins on 2 September, with Roux noting that “the bulk of the tickets” will be made available for South Africa fans. Full refunds for tickets and package tours would be offered if the tour is cancelled.
Full Lions 2021 tour schedule:
Saturday 3 July: Lions v Stormers – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Wednesday 7 July: Lions v South Africa ‘Invitational’ – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Saturday 10 July: Lions v Sharks – Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Wednesday 14 July: Lions v South Africa ‘A’ Team – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Saturday 17 July: Lions v Bulls – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Saturday 24 July (first Test): Springboks v Lions – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg
Saturday 31 July (second Test): Springboks v Lions – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Saturday 7 August (third Test): Springboks v Lions – Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg