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The Age

Angry fans force entry after lock-out at MCG

Author: Ron Carter
Date: 08/06/1992
Words: 422
          Publication: The Age
Page: 1
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.

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