Lions chiefs plan talks with Tour to South Africa in doubt

The British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa could be another sporting casualty of the coronavirus pandemic after managing director Ben Calveley revealed talks are being held over its viability.

An eight-match itinerary that culminates in a three-Test series against the world champion Springboks is set for July and August this year.

However, with Britain, Ireland and South Africa still in lockdown to try and bring down infection rates down and the possibility of fans being allowed to travel and attend matches receding, Calveley said a decision could be taken by February on whether the Tour will go ahead as planned.

“Given the uncertainty that continues to be caused by the coronavirus pandemic both in South Africa, as well as the UK and Ireland, we are very aware of the need to make a timely decision on the best way forward,” Calveley said in a statement on Saturday.

“Not least this is so that we can provide clarity to supporters booked to travel to South Africa next summer, or those thinking of making the trip.

“To date, the Lions board has had repeated meetings to discuss all scenarios available and is in constant dialogue.

“It will meet throughout January and into February, if required, to review all relevant information and data.”

Thousands of British and Irish fans normally travel to the southern hemisphere for the Tours that take place just once every four years.