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British & Irish Lions 2021 tour could be cancelled to preserve home unions finances, report claims

British & Irish Lions

The British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa next summer could be facing the scrapheap as the four unions which comprise the team fight to avoid financial turmoil.

The RFU and unions for Wales, Scotland and Ireland are all in a statement of heightened concern over the autumn Test window and the resumption of the Six Nations, as all four continue to process grants and loans to grassroots clubs.

Postponed fixtures from the Six Nations raise a dilemma for rugby’s schedule, with the Lions facing the threat of a delayed or cancelled tour due to the backlog of the international and club calendar.

The Mirror is reporting that is likely as unions seek to avoid a collective deficit upwards of £80m if the Six Nations and autumn internationals are abandoned.

There are four fixtures left to be played to complete the 2020 Six Nations. Income from matches in Dublin and Cardiff will deliver much-needed funds to the IRFU and WRU, believed to be between £4m-£8m.

As unions who employ their Test stars to central contracts, the Lions tours does bring in income but it is pales in comparison to hosting home international matches.

The seriousness of a delayed Lions tour could see fans impacted.

35,000 were expected to travel to South Africa through their own means or with the Lions own travel links tailored for fan experience.

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