Keep the Lions Tour in South Africa - Postpone to 2022 and DO NOT switch to UK and Ireland

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Covid-19 will almost certainly prevent the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour from taking place in the host country of South Africa.

We are petitioning for the home nations of England (RFU), Scotland (SRU), Ireland (IRFU) Wales (WRU) who collectively make up the British & Irish Lions Board, and South Africa (SA Rugby) to do the right thing by agreeing to switch the Lions tour to 2022, placing this before the needs of their own country’s proposed summer tours. The Lions requires only 36 players from across the four home nations.

A well-documented UK-hosted replacement Series in July 2021 not only dilutes the rich touring history of the Lions, it denies South Africa’s fans, stadia, businesses, and whole tourism infrastructure the opportunity to host, impress and benefit from the 30,000 fans expected to follow the world’s most passionate invitational touring team. 
As The Sunday Times’ esteemed journalist, Stephen Jones described in his article on 10th January 2021, “The Lions bring a marvellous boost for rugby and the economy — a conservative estimate for 2021 indicates that 3.1 billion Rand (about £150 million) will be injected into the faltering economy by about 30,000 fans.” 

Ex-Springbok, Tonderai Chavhanga supports this notion. “As a country, we’ve been excitedly preparing for this event for 12 years. Our fantastic fans should not be denied the opportunity to watch this Series, nor should our tourism infrastructure suffer any further financial losses that Covid has already delivered.”
Further, UK tour operators, independent travelling fans, airlines, and businesses that exist and rely on this outbound tourism would face substantial pressures on losses through commitments made to this date. Britain’s surging Covid rates offer no guarantee that matches on UK soil would provide access to fans, thus opening the potential of Test games held behind closed doors.

What makes the Lions special, what makes the Lions unique is the power it has to tempt 30,000+ passionate rugby fans from across the British and Irish Isles to embark on a sporting pilgrimage to the opposite side of the globe.

Help us reach 30,000 signatures to present this compelling case to keep the Lions in South Africa in July and August 2022 and NOT a watered-down alternative that focuses only on revenue for a select few beneficiaries.

Picture: Simon James-Smith