SA Rugby president Mark Alexander is desperate to boost the economy by clearing any impediments to South Africa hosting the British & Irish Lions tour.
One such obstacle is the restriction on fan attendance at sporting events and it has been reported that rugby is not the only sporting federation to have appealed to Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa for a 50% concession.
‘We’re doing everything in our power to keep the Lions tour in South Africa,’ Alexander told Rapport.
‘The series will help to get our economy back on track and help the tourism industry overcome some of the negative effects of the pandemic, and hopefully avoid any more layoffs in that sector.
‘The series would have a R6.6-billion economic impact on the country. All sectors must help to get the economy back on track.’
Two weeks ago it appeared that the series was on track to make its debut on European soil as the British & Irish Lions board announced that they had received support from the United Kingdom government to host the tour at venues in England, Wales and Scotland.
Soon after, sources confirmed the validity of a leaked tour itinerary that featured four Tests against the Springboks in a schedule that would run from 26 June to 7 August.
Alexander’s continued efforts to open local stadiums to spectators suggest that the decision-makers have yet to cast their final votes.