(Reuters) - The British & Irish Lions announced a partnership with Premiership Rugby and the United Rugby Championship on Thursday that ensures players are available for the 2025 tour to Australia.
The partnership will allow Lions players from the two leagues to be available for all pre-tour activities as well as marketing and promotional activities.
The deal comes after several players from the Premiership were unavailable for preparations ahead of the 2021 tour when a warm-up test against Japan clashed with the Premiership final.
"It is crucial that this agreement benefits not just The British & Irish Lions but also Premiership Rugby and United Rugby Championship," Lions CEO Ben Calveley said in a statement.
"Our ambition is to make 2025 the greatest Lions Tour ever and we believe the opportunities for collaboration across marketing, promotional and wider activity will add significant value to all organisations."
Premiership Rugby CEO Simon Massie-Taylor said giving the players the best possible preparation time was vital for both the Lions and the league.
"We are now looking forward to seeing as many Premiership Rugby players as possible competing for a test jersey and hopefully experience being on a winning tour," he said.
The Lions will play three tests against Australia as well as taking on five Super Rugby franchises and an invitational team made up of players from Australia and New Zealand.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)