Fans leave Adelaide Oval after an event. Picture: Tom Huntley Source: News Corp Australia
Fans leave Adelaide Oval after an event. Picture: Tom Huntley Source: News Corp Australia

Overhaul tipped for Australian stadiums after Manchester

MAJOR changes are likely at Australian stadiums as authorities rethink security in a desperate attempt to stop the Manchester atrocity being repeated here.

Officials at some of our most famous stadiums, including the MCG, are considering urgent changes to security arrangements.

In most cases the venues are major landmarks and tourist drawcards in their own right, regardless of whether they are hosting a concert or major sports event.

Adelaide Oval sport and concert goers will face a much stricter security cordon upon entry to the venue from Saturday's AFL match between Adelaide and Fremantle.

The Stadium Management Authority has encouraged people to arrive at the venue 20 minutes earlier than they would normally, The Advertiser reports.

This will allow an increased number of security guards to search every bag and more closely screen bags and individuals with detector wands as they enter.

The new measures are in response to the Manchester terror attack which killed 22 people and injured dozens more on Monday morning (Australian time).

SA Police have backed the beefed up security measures at the oval and say they will support it with a highly visible police presence within the venue and at entry points, carparks and on the footbridge.

New security measures including a clear-bag policy and permanent bollards will also be considered at Victorian sports games and concerts.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground or MCG as it's known is just one of Melbourne's landmarks.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground or MCG as it's known is just one of Melbourne's landmarks. DAVID CROSLING

Operators of the MCG, Rod Laver Arena, AAMI Park, Simonds Stadium and Hisense Arena are now considering only allowing in clear plastic bags or small clutch handbags.

NSW police this week told Network Ten they would look at the security arrangements in place and determine whether any additional measures are required ahead of major events such as State of Origin, and AFL games at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

In Adelaide, Stadium Management Authority chief Andrew Daniels warned fans that the stringent new rules - including that every bag must be searched by a staff member with an electronic wand - would slow down the entry process.

While latecomers to matches were previously ushered through the gates to catch the start of games on occasions, Mr Daniels said all bags would be thoroughly checked regardless of the lengths of queues.

"Please be patient when you get here, because obviously everybody understands why we need to instigate these new procedures," he said.

A similar crackdown will start tonight at the clash between Port Adelaide and Geelong at Simonds Stadium.
The Manchester attack, the latest in a string of so-called "soft target" extremist attacks across the globe, has prompted sweeping changes to security at sports stadiums across the world, including at Wembley Stadium in the UK, and at NFL venues in the United States.

While SA Assistant Police Commissioner Linda Williams this week said Adelaide Oval authorities should consider banning backpacks entirely, Mr Daniels said he hoped such a drastic step would not be required.

"I think that could actually create more problems for patrons," he said.

"Provided we get the assistance of the public in only bringing what you need to ... if you have a family of four, perhaps just bring one backpack between you instead of one each."

More staff members and security officers will be employed to help implement the new security measures.

Mr Daniels said there would also be more monitoring inside and outside the oval, but would not reveal details for "tactical reasons".

Stadium chiefs have this week been in contact with managers of other major venues including the MCG, SCG and Etihad Stadium.

Permanent bollards around the oval would likely be installed before the Ashes Test Match in December, but Mr Daniels stressed "unsightly" temporary barriers currently in place offered the same level of protection.

The MCG will also consider building permanent barriers at strategic positions around the ground after installing water-filled temporary barricades at the start of this AFL season.

"The water-filled barriers around the MCG concourse will remain in place for the duration of the AFL season as a measure to protect against unauthorised vehicle approaches,'' a spokesman told The Herald Sun.

"The use of water-filled barriers is under constant review, looking forward to the cricket season and in relation to all other events at the MCG."