Springsteen concerts won't wreck pitch, declares AAMI Park boss

AAMI Park general manager Shane Mates said the A-League could rest assured it will not be left with another dodgy playing surface as a result of two Bruce Springsteen concerts that will be staged at the venue on Thursday and Saturday.

AAMI Park

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The competition has already experienced one horror reaction from a pitch following a rock concert this season - a December Coldplay concert left Suncorp Stadium with a crater-like surface.

The game between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers was inevitably affected, reduced as a spectacle and drawing howls of protest on social media from prominent A-League figures.

Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata said the Roar should have demanded a reduced fee for the condition in which the ground was presented, adding that "our game deserves better". Perth Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos described the surface as "completely unacceptable".

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AAMI Park has had problems with its playing surface in the past, most notably during last year's Super Rugby season.



Huge chunks of turf were torn up when scrums packed down during a game between the Melbourne Rebels and Wellington Hurricanes in June.

After there were further issues in a Test match between Australia and England, Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said the ARU had complained to the Melbourne and Olympic Trust, which runs the venue.

When Springsteen played two concerts at AAMI Park in February 2014, the playing surface held up well for A-League games that followed.

The World Game approached the AAMI Park management for comment on how they expected it to hold up for the big game between top-four teams Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar on February 11.

The venue's general manager, Shane Mates, said the stadium was using the methods of protecting the pitch that had previously been used for sell-out shows performed by Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Foo Fighters.



Thousands of fans of "The Boss" will watch the concerts from pitch level, standing on protective flooring.
Mates was confident there wouldn't be a negative reaction from the surface.

"We have a proven track record of converting our stadium from a sports field to a rock concert and back again whilst ensuring minimum impact on the playing performance of the pitch," Mates told The World Game.

"We employ the best people – experts in the field – who work tirelessly to maintain the pitch to a high quality in all conditions.

"We have once again planned carefully in the lead-up to the Bruce Springsteen concerts and we have every confidence the pitch will meet the high standards of our players, hirers and of course, fans for the Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar match on February 11."

A Melbourne City spokesperson told The World Game speculation regarding pitch surfaces was not something the club would typically comment on.


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Published 1 February 2017 at 6:31pm
By Greg Prichard