SA resident ticket holders will have first right to purchase tickets for the revised British & Irish Lions tour if restrictions on attendance at sports events are lifted.
On Friday, the revised venues and fixtures for the British & Irish Lions series was confirmed, with all ticket holders for the original schedule set to receive a full refund.
‘We are hopeful that restrictions on attendance at sports events will be relaxed but, for the moment, we are planning for an event behind closed doors,’ SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux confirmed.
‘If that requirement changes, then we’ll assess the options available and make the necessary decisions based on the restrictions in place.’
Ticket holders are expected to be contacted directly to advise details of the refund process, but those in South African may still have a hope of watching the Lions ‘live’ if a concession is granted to allow some stadium attendance.
Recently, SA Rugby and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture reportedly 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 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.
‘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.’
However, there are reports of a Covid-19 resurgence and ‘third wave’ in South Africa, and so it stands to reason that Roux says they are ‘planning for an event behind closed doors.’
Ben Calveley, The British & Irish Lions Managing Director, said: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has caused considerable disruption to the global sporting calendar, but after discussions with our partners at SA Rugby, we are very pleased to be able to give confirmation of the revised tour schedule.
‘While things will undoubtedly look different to a typical Lions tour, together with SA Rugby we are determined to deliver an uninterrupted Series for the players who will take the field, as well as the many millions of people watching at home.
‘We would like to thank all Lions supporters for their patience and understanding as we continue to navigate our way through the impact of the pandemic, and also extend our enormous gratitude to our commercial partners for their incredible ongoing support.’
The full Lions Series 2021 is:
- Saturday 3 July: Emirates Lions v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Wednesday 7 July: Cell C Sharks v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) KO 20h00 (SAT) / 19h00 (BST)
- Saturday 10 July: Vodacom Bulls v The British & Irish Lions (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Wednesday 14 July: South Africa ‘A’ v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 20h00 (SAT) / 19h00 (BST)
- Saturday 17 July: DHL Stormers v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Saturday 24 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (1st Test, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Saturday 31 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (2nd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Saturday 7 Aug: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (3rd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)