Rugby Australia has offered to host the British and Irish Lions tour originally planned to be played in South Africa in July and August. The organisation even went as far as offering the Lions financial guarantees in the form of potential losses covered in the event that they agreed to move the tour to Australia.
The eight-match tour, which include three Tests against the world champions, if played in South Africa, looks likely to be played without any fans in the stands. This could of course lead to financial losses for the visitors, and is the main reason behind Rugby Australia’s offer in terms of an alternative.
Since Australia has enjoyed greater success than South Africa at containing the spread of infections, the tour could likely be played in front of spectators if it were indeed to be moved to the land Down Under. The cost of moving the tour and the potential for local stay-at-home orders forcing events to be played behind closed doors, as had been the case with this year’s Australian Open, have however resembled definite stumbling blocks. The Lions are desperately in need of a successful tour from a financial point of view. Rugby Australia’s latest offer could however go some ways towards alleviating concerns over potential monetary losses.
A third option would obviously be for the Lions to play “at home”, which is a possibility that was greatly boosted by the recent news that fans could be allowed to fill the UK’s sports stadiums by as early as late-June.
The Lions are expected to announce a final decision in March.
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