AFL fans urged to arrive earlier
Melbourne Cricket Club, AFL and Victoria Police today announced enhanced security procedures at the MCG for the 2016 AFL season, following a review of the measures trialled during the recent cricket season.
Football fans are being urged to allow additional time to enter the stadium when the AFL season starts on March 24, with the majority of the introduced security measures - including 100 per cent bag checks and random, continuous hand-held metal detection of patrons before entry - remaining in place for AFL matches.
Checks will take place at the stadium entry gates, rather than at an external perimeter fence, and bag-free entry lanes will continue to operate.
While the external perimeter fence trialled in the cricket season will not be in effect for the 2016 AFL season, a two-stage approach to patron entry - with check points set back from the stadium structure - remains a possible long-term solution and will continue to be explored.
The MCC’s external security adviser, Hatamoto, has confirmed that the measures in place at the MCG will deliver security enhancements of the highest possible standard.
MCC CEO Stephen Gough said that the stadium operator continued to receive the very best advice from authorities with respect to security measures.
“The safety and security of MCG attendees and staff is our number one priority,” said Mr Gough. “While there is currently no localised threat to the MCG, the level of security to be applied in the AFL season will provide further comfort for patrons.”
“We are continuing to investigate a hard perimeter set back from the stadium where these checks could take place,” Mr Gough said.
“The trial of the temporary fence during the cricket season revealed a number of logistical challenges, concerns with the robustness of the fencing solution and specific compliance matters that will need to be addressed as part of our investigations.”
Mr Gough said that footy fans needed to be aware that it would take a little longer to enter the stadium than was the case in the 2015 AFL season.
“We strongly encourage people to plan their journey to arrive earlier than normal to ensure they don’t miss the first bounce, and to avoid bringing a bag unless necessary.”
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the AFL greatly appreciated the dedication of the MCC to the safety of fans attending games at the country’s premier sporting venue.
“The MCG is the spiritual home of our game and hosts our biggest matches year in and year out,” Mr McLachlan said.
“The MCC is doing everything within its powers to ensure the safety of fans and we ask our fans to give themselves a bit of extra time when attending games to ensure their smooth entry into the ground.”
Other measures implemented during the cricket trial will remain in place. These include searches of vehicles with valid passes to park beneath the stadium in Brunton Avenue before proceeding into the stadium car park, as well as keeping vehicles parked in Yarra Park back at least 25 metres from the external concourse. There will also be increased surveillance leading up to event days.