B&I Lions provide tour update

British & Irish Lions managing director Ben Calveley says they will continue ‘constant dialogue’ and review all relevant information related to Covid-19 ahead of the tour to South Africa.

This past weekend, reports out of the UK suggested contingency planning for the 2021 tour was being accelerated in light of the recent spike in coronavirus case numbers and the emergence of a ‘mutant’ strain of the virus, both in the UK and in South Africa.’

The tour to South Africa is one of the most highly-anticipated Lions series of all time, with Calveley previously saying that ‘the level of interest is approximately five times higher than what we’ve had on previous tours’.

On Saturday, Calveley moved to address speculation that the tour could perhaps be postponed to 2022 rather than take place without fans.

‘As you would expect, we are progressing with our plans based on the latest information available to us,’ he said.

‘However, given the uncertainty that continues to be caused by the coronavirus pandemic both in South Africa, as well as the UK and Ireland, we are very aware of the need to make a timely decision on the best way forward; not least so that we can provide clarity to supporters booked to travel to South Africa next summer, or those thinking of making the trip.

‘To date, the Lions Board has had repeated meetings to discuss all scenarios available and is in constant dialogue. It will meet throughout January and into February, if required, to review all relevant information and data. After further consultation with SA Rugby, we will update on the outcome of these meetings in due course.

‘In the meantime, we continue regular discussion with our partners in the UK, Ireland and South Africa, including the British High Commission in Pretoria, the Irish Embassy and various government departments, to ascertain as much information as possible on this fast-evolving, complex situation.’

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Craig Lewis