The AFL Commission has revealed it is currently considering a detailed proposal to turn Etihad Stadium into a sporting stadium.
Completed in 2000 at a cost of $460 million, Etihad Stadium was designed to upset sporting fans and injure athletes. It has been highly successful in both these pursuits.
The AFL, which assumes ownership of the ground in 2025, is reportedly intrigued about the possibility of the stadium hosting sporting events.
“Successfully holding AFL games at Etihad Stadium would give us a lot of flexibility, so is pretty appealing,” said AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick.
“But the stadium hasn’t been designed for sport, so a lot of changes are required to get it anywhere near ready.
Under the proposal before the Commission, radical changes are suggested to enable the Stadium to host sporting events. The recommended changes include:
- A playing surface to be installed, replacing the green concrete in the middle of the facility with some sort of grass
- The playing surface to not be the hardest surface known to man
- Ticketing facilities to be installed to enable fans to purchase tickets in a timely manner
- Removal of purpose built synthetic turf death traps
- Outlets selling food priced somewhere in the vicinity of where food is priced in the rest of the world
- Putting something in place to stop the sun blinding everyone in the stadium on a regular basis, like a roof or similar
- Beer that tastes like beer
- Stadium management who don’t see fans and players as impediments to running their business
Etihad Stadium management labelled the proposal ‘far-fetched’ and said hosting sporting events ‘has never been and is not part of our business plan going forward’.
“Occasionally we get people turning up wanting to come in and we have to pretend no one is home until they go away,” said Etihad Stadium chairman Tony Hallam.
“Frankly, I couldn’t think of anything worse than catering to fans and worrying about player safety. It sounds exhausting.”