LOSING CLOSE to R6.6bn cannot be quantified and the South African rugby is working around the clock to make sure the loot remains in this country.
This is the amount the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour will plough to both the cash strapped SA rugby and economy.
The tour is scheduled for between July 3 and August 7 against the 2020 World Cup champs Boks.
However, there are still stumbling blocks considering the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are talks it could happen behind closed doors- meaning no fans- a devastating point that SA Rugby is grappling with.
To add salt into injury (pun intended), the pace of vaccine roll-out in SA is questionable, and last night Gvt and J&J suspended inoculation due to blood clots discovered in the US. This does not augur well, at all.
But the SA Rugby is hard at work mounting, lobbying support from government, trade unions, businesses and other relevant structures to make this a reality, as job losses figures grow exponentially every day.
“We have pulled out all stops and we are lobbying government,” SA Rugby president Mark Alexander told the Sport24 website on Tuesday. “I’ll do anything we need to do to get [supporters into stadiums]. It’s a process, and you don’t know how long that process will take, that’s the problem.
“We need to have this tournament [the Lions tour with fans] in SA, and if we don’t, there could be 10,000 jobs lost through retrenchments.”
Alexander says they have presented various ideas to the government on a way forward, including crowdfunding to pay for the widespread distribution of vaccines in the coming months.
“We looked at a number of things to assist government in raising funds to pay for the vaccine. We like the crowdfunding thing and we wanted to start a campaign to raise money. We all have to chip in, in some kind of way,” Alexander said.
“We also proposed stringent controls around stadiums. We have testing before the game and people coming with their vaccine or health passports.
“You have a 90,000-seater stadium [in Johannesburg]. If you have a minimum number of seats between each person, you’re covered.”
At the time of publishing the spokesperson for the department of sport Mickey Modisane had not responded for a comment.
Image (SA rugby and these players could lose a staggering R6bn if playing behind doors during the British/Lions Tour, does goes ahead).