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    Premier League to reschedule 2025 final and host Lions tour for first time in history

    Lions' preparations for the series in South Africa, which they lost 2-1, were heavily criticized. Credit: Getty Images/David Rogers

    British and Irish Lions and Rugby Premier League reach historic agreement to end Telegraph Sport may expose pre-tour antagonisms and conflicts over player releases, funding and fixture clashes.

    The landmark deal is expected to include a number of key compromises that should ensure that the next Lions head coach is given a “best shot” on the 2025 tour of Australia.

    Standout details of the deal include:< /p>

    • Premiership Rugby will move its finals forward by one week for the 2024-25 season, having previously vehemently resisted calls to do so
    • The postponement of the final ensures that the Lions can return at least one match to their schedule, which was reduced from 10 games to eight under the 2017 San Francisco global calendar deal, when tourists were not properly represented in the negotiations.< /li >
    • The Lions head coach will be able to play a pre-tour warm-up game in the UK, Ireland or overseas en route to Australia in full force.
    • All players are from England. selected to be able to attend all Lions events, including pre-tour meetings such as the traditional Dirty Monday logistics day
    • The Lions have for the first time agreed to a landmark commercial deal to share a portion of tour proceeds with clubs and players (in addition to tour fees).
    • The Lions have also agreed to work with Premier League clubs during the 2024-25 season by hosting events featuring current and former Lions players and helping to promote them final, promoting players and clubs.
    • Partly owned URC Irish, Scottish and Welsh unions are also expected to reschedule their final, as they did ahead of the 2021 tour of South Africa.
    • Mandatory rest periods agreed for players returning to their clubs at the start of the new season .

    The deal now needs to be approved by key stakeholders, including the Premier League board, the clubs and the Lions board of directors. , in the next couple of weeks. The public announcement next month is expected to coincide with a two-year countdown to an Australian tour that will see the next Lions manager face former England manager Eddie Jones.

    Eddie Jones will play the Lions two years later when they face his Australian team. Photo: Reuters/Ian Ransom. club owners.

    It is understood that a sub-committee has been set up with Calvley, PRL chief executive Simon Massey-Taylor, chairman Martin Phillips and rugby league director Phil Winstanley, as well as former Lions chairman Jason Leonard and his successor Iwan Evans. talks.

    “This is one of the most important deals since the game has gone professional as it will end all the friction and tension between the Lions and Premier League clubs that used to always boil right before kick-off.” tour. in connection with the departure,” said one senior source.

    “Lions are the biggest brand in the world of rugby, it's something everyone should celebrate and support and now we have an agreement, everyone can do it.

    “Lions' successful tour and brand is good for the clubs too premier league and now both sides can work together, there is more incentive to make it really work. The owners (of the club) also love the Lions.

    Another source said: “It just shows what rugby can achieve when we work together. It's been a tough year for the sport, but it's fantastic news. It shows what can be done through dialogue, a common goal for rugby and cooperation. Now everyone can go on tour.”

    Cooperation should end the feelings of mutual distrust and rancor that have undermined tours since the game went professional in 1995. constantly called for additional preparation before the tour in his end-of-tour reports, but was ignored.

    Sir Ian McGeachan has been the head coach of the Lions four times and each time asked for more time to prepare. Photo: Getty Images/David Rogers

    It was a club that Warren Gatland, head coach of the last three rounds, picked up vigorously. , who called for more preparation time, both for the well-being of the players and the challenges of forming a four-country team.

    As Gatland also pushed for the tour group to leave as a unit, in 2017, when the Premier League final was played just seven days before the Lions' first tour match in New Zealand, several players were said to have slept on the coach before the game. when they were still jet lag.

    Relationships seemed to come to a head ahead of the 2021 tour of South Africa when the Lions scheduled a pre-tour match in Edinburgh on the same day as the premier final leagues at Twickenham. , described by one of the club's owners as “parking his tank on our lawn.”

    This not only angered the clubs because the Lions' game would have eclipsed their internal showpiece, but also added fuel to a sense of frustration. that while they stuck to the San Francisco deal, the Lions didn't, extending the five-week, eight-game tour to a warm-up game and a two-week camp.

    The players were also in the middle of a stalemate due to a training camp release ahead of the tour in Jersey, while the clubs were also frustrated with the lack of communication with the Lions, with demands left until the 11th hour, and a lack of respect and proper compensation.

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