The Lions have turned down Australia’s offer to host the series against South Africa this summer.
A board meeting on Friday made the decision due to the lack of financial security regarding the funding of Rugby Australia, which is staging the eight-game tour culminating in a three-test series against the Springboks.
Four options are still under consideration, but each has significant drawbacks as a decision is due this month.
Continuing the original itinerary in South Africa either with small crowds or behind closed doors could still happen while the financially risky option of holding the tour in the UK and Ireland is also being explored.
Postponing to next year is the least likely course of action due to the impact on the home unions’ summer tours, while the last option is to cancel.
The South African board of directors meets next week with the likelihood that the world champions, hosted by the Lions behind closed doors, are gaining momentum.