Angry fans broke through gates and jumped the fence at the MCG yesterday
after being locked out half an hour before the start of the Collingwood-St Kilda
football thriller, which the Saints won by one point.
The MCG holds more than 105,000 people, but only 80,060 were allowed in
before the gates were closed. There is now less space for the public than before
the Great Southern Stand was built.
The Australian Football League commission chairman, Mr Ross Oakley, said last
night that he would investigate yesterday's problems with the Melbourne Cricket
Club's general manager, Dr John Lill.
Following the lock-out Collingwood called for the live telecast of Melbourne
games so supporters could see their teams play.
Dr Lill said last night: ``People got in without going through the
turnstiles. I don't know how many. They got up on a roof and jumped over a fence
and they forced another gate. We had a couple of gates damaged."
He said the gates were closed because the ground staff thought the ground was
full and that it would not be safe to let more in.
``As it turned out, they were probably wrong. I apologised to all the people
who were turned away," he said.
It was estimated that between 5000 and 10,000 were locked out. However, the
Collingwood president, Mr Allan McAlister, said he had heard that 20,000 had
been turned away.
Sections of the MCC and AFL members' reserves were opened to the public to
ease the pressure on the other packed areas.
Dr Lill said that the MCG was harder to manage now with the Great Southern
Stand, which created four separate areas.
He blamed the absence of MCC and AFL members on the attendances being well
below capacity although the public areas looked full.
``The ground now has nearly 50 per cent of its capacity which is discretional
(the MCC and AFL members areas). It used to be 25 per cent.
I haven't seen the figures yet, but I suspect we'll find about 15,000 or more
spaces in the two members' areas weren't used."
Mr McAlister said he was disturbed that Collingwood fans missed seeing
yesterday's game. ``People have a right to watch their teams play, and if a
mistake was made today it ought not happen again."
Mr McAlister said tickets could be pre-sold for the Collingwood-Footscray game
at Victoria Park on Saturday week, which looks likely to be sold out.