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Lions' return trip to Jersey costs local taxpayers thousands

By Paul Smith
(Photo by Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

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By agreeing to admit the British & Irish Lions touring party to Jersey the island’s Government incurred approximately £22,000 of COVID-19 testing costs.

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Warren Gatland’s squad went to the Channel Island after returning from their recent South Africa series loss since an immediate return to the UK from a red-list country would have triggered an automatic ten-day stay in a quarantine hotel.

The Lions therefore returned to the venue of their pre-tour training camp which along with the provision of daily PCR tests created a substantially less rigid quarantine regime.

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What had not previously emerged, however, is that Jersey’s government rather than the Lions were footing the bill for those tests. This figure has now been revealed by a Freedom of Information request to have been in the vicinity of £22,000.

On arrival from South Africa, the whole Lions squad were tested on a free-of-charge basis, as is the case for any travellers visiting Jersey.

But all other tests taken by the Lions’ players and staff were then subsequently paid for.
In addition, the touring party were granted special exemption from the usual ten-day isolation period and received their second COVID-19 vaccine while on the island.

Local politicians had previously stated that the Lions return visit to the island would incur no further use of public money.

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On August 6 the Jersey Government website quoted Deputy Chief Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham as saying: “It is fitting that the Lions started their campaign in Jersey and will draw it to a close here as well.

“The training camp was a period of intense preparation, when they had limited time to enjoy the Island; this time, coaches and players will reunite with their families and will be able to properly see what the Island has to offer.

“The squad will be welcomed as individual guests who are here to recuperate, with very limited work commitments. No formal community events will be arranged while they are here, and the cost of the visit is being met by the Lions.”

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Lions' return trip to Jersey costs local taxpayers thousands

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