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'A sensible decision' - Lions match moved to avoid football clash

By Sam Smith
A Lions fan watching on in Murrayfield /PA

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Both the British & Irish Lions and SA Rugby have confirmed that they are to move the Lions vs Sharks fixture forward to avoid a clash with the Euro 2020 Championships.

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The football tournament is currently running in Europe, and the advance of the England football team in particular, could potentially mean a viewership clash that wouldn’t work in rugby union’s favour.

A statement reads: “The kick-off in the Castle Lager Lions Series match between the Cell C Sharks and The British & Irish Lions at Emirates Arline Park on Wednesday, 7 July, has been brought forward by an hour to 19h00 (18h00 BST).

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“The adjustment has been made in the interests of the global TV audience to avoid any overlap with the semi-finals of football’s Euro 2020 Championships.”

“We discussed the idea with broadcasters and they were all aligned that it made sense from the perspective of sports fans,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. “It is not the kind of adjustment that could have been made as easily had we had spectators in the venue, but as everyone will be watching from home we thought it sensible to give them all the options.”

Ben Calveley, managing director for The British & Irish Lions, said: “This is a sensible decision made with the fans best interests at heart. We are fully supportive.”

The British & Irish Lions open their Tour with a match at the same venue against the Sigma Lions, kick off 18h00 (17h00 BST), on Saturday.

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