ANZ Stadium has taken another knock to player confidence in the playing surface after a footballer found three sharp metal pegs lying on the grass during a recent first grade AFL match. A Sydney Swans player reportedly found the stakes during the first quarter of the match against Collingwood on June 25.

A spokesperson for the venue said “stringent procedures are undertaken in the lead-up to any event to ensure the entire playing surface is free of objects and ready for play. If it is the case that one or two pins have remained in the turf despite these checks, we would be surprised and disappointed… The stadium acknowledges that it has a fundamental obligation to provide a safe playing environment and on this occasion the stadium failed to meet that standard."

Turf Issues - A Common Theme

The issue of venue playing surface safety and suitability is a recurring theme in major sporting venues: in 2010 #*IT Happens published two stories about venues (Etihad Stadium and Energy Australia Stadium) whose playing fields were called into question.

This also isn’t the first time ANZ Stadium’s surface  has come under fire: in 2008 a number of players complained the surface was too soft for AFL. The stadium is particularly vulnerable to turf issues in the football season because it is also used as a permanent home ground for three rugby league teams. 

The maintenance and quality of the playing field is a critical business function for any sporting venue and should be thoroughly examined under their venue risk assessments and business continuity plans.  Venue operators must make certain that rigorous mitigation procedures are implemented to ensure critical controls are effective and closely monitored.