SA Rugby and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture have officially asked the national Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee to consider filling stadiums up to at least 50% capacity during the 2021 British & Irish Lions series.
It’s been over 18 months since the Springboks last played, and it will be closer to nearly two years of inactivity for the national side when the world champs finally return to action with expected warm-up games ahead of the arrival of the Lions at the end of June.
The wait has been agonising for Springbok fans, but the fact the Lions series has been given the green light to proceed in South Africa is a credit to the work that has gone on behind the scenes, especially since there was talk what the tour might be moved to the UK or even postponed.
According to a report on Netwerk24, SA Rugby in tandem with the ministry of sport have drafted a document asking the authorities to make some concession for fan attendance during the British & Irish Lions series.
It is believed minister Nathi Mthethwa presented the proposal to the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, as well as the ministers of finance, tourism and finance respectively on Saturday.
‘We worked hard to ensure that all questions directed at us were answered and the show that we’ve covered every possible scenario should fans be allowed in,’ a source told Netwerk24.
‘We can’t do more than that. Everything is now basically in the hands of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee.’
As it stands, SA Rugby has two varying tour itineraries. The first one is that the entire tour takes place in a secure bio-bubble in Johannesburg, meaning all the franchises scheduled to play the Lions will also have to travel to Gauteng.
The second, and indeed preferred option, is in the event of the abovementioned proposal getting approved and fans being allowed to attend matches. If the proposal gets the green light, the tour will be take place in two bio-bubbles in Cape Town and Joburg as well one match being played at Loftus in Pretoria.
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