Lions' hopes of full house at Murrayfield for Japan game are dashed

British and Irish Lions forced to refund 30,000 fans for their match against Japan in Edinburgh on June 26… with only 16,500 allowed in at Murrayfield because Scottish Government say social distancing WON’T be lifted by then

  • It had been hoped that the British & Irish Lions vs Japan could be capacity game
  • But instead of the 67,000 at Murrayfield, it will only be 16,500 fans allowed in
  • Tickets sold out online but the majority will now be cancelled and refunded 
  • It is another cruel financial blow to the Lions and Scottish Rugby Union 

Fifty thousand fans will be turned away from the British & Irish Lions’ match in Edinburgh against Japan in June, as the game will only now host 16,500 due to Covid regulations.

It was hoped the Murrayfield game, used as a pre-tour curtain-raiser before the tourists jet to South Africa, would be able to be played in front of a full house of 67,000.

Tickets sold out when they were made available – but now the majority will be cancelled and refunded after consultation with the Scottish Government, who have said social-distancing measures mean less than a third of the capacity can attend.

Murrayfield will not host a capacity British & Irish Lions game against Japan this summer

It will represent another cruel financial blow to the Lions and Scottish Rugby Union; the tourists likely to make a loss this summer.

Nevertheless this crowd – if it stays at this level until kick-off on June 26 – will still be the first seen at Murrayfield since March 2020.

‘We’re absolutely delighted to be able to confirm today’s news,’ said Ben Calveley, Managing Director of The British & Irish Lions.

‘It will be brilliant to see a passionate crowd back at Murrayfield for what promises to be a superb game of rugby before we embark on the Tour to South Africa.

Warren Gatland was hoping to have his side play a warm-up game in front of a full house

‘I am sure it will give the entire touring party an enormous boost to play this fixture in front of Lions fans.

‘We are very grateful to the Scottish Government for its commitment and support to ensure this fixture would be seen by a live audience.’

Most fans with tickets will now be left disappointed, and will be contacted by May 28 to advise if their seat is still available.

Those who bought tickets last will see theirs cancelled first, as per the terms and conditions, which will see those sold via the ‘general sale’ voided, then in ‘presale groups’ four to one until 16,500 lucky fans are left.

With the tour games and Tests in South Africa now to be played in front of empty stands, this will still be the biggest crowd to watch the 2021 Lions live.

Alun Wyn Jones and Co will have to settle for just 16,500 fans watching against Japan

The Scottish Government’s National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch said: ‘As a flagship event of international significance, this match has been carefully considered by the Scottish Government.

‘The stadium capacity has been agreed, following public health advice, in principle by Ministers but will be kept under review, with all partners continuing to monitor the status of the pandemic in the run up to the match to ensure fans can attend safely. 

‘This is the same process used to set the capacity for the Euros at Hampden and for other internationally significant events during the summer.’




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