The British & irish Lions board is set to meet this week to discuss a potential contingency of switching their tour of South Africa to the UK and Ireland.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the eight-man Lions board will hold a meeting on Friday to decide whether to continue with their tour of South Africa in July and August amid a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report states that a decision has yet to be made, but the board has already started gathering ‘extensive information’ about the potential of holding the Test series in the UK and Ireland as a contingency.
This includes the cost of hiring stadiums and the availability of staff, as well as financial projections for potential revenue generated by ticking and hospitality packages, which would reportedly be more than from their tour of SA if crowds are able to return to the stadiums in the UK.
The plans would have the Lions host the Springboks in three Test matches at Twickenham, Cardiff and Dublin. Football stadiums, such as St James’ Park in Newcastle and Villa Park in Birmingham, would be used to host South Africa’s provincial teams such as the Sharks and Vodacom Bulls to keep to the original schedule.
However, the plans are expected to get backlash from supporters of the Lions tour, who revel in its uniqueness and history.
The other contingency plan would be to postpone the tour until 2022, but that would require a rescheduling of next year’s Test windows, with a schedule already in place for England to visit Australia while Ireland are set to face New Zealand in 2022.
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