Cricket Australia has come under fire for its decision to close the shaded seats in the top-tier stands of the new Perth Stadium which will host the second Test between India and Australia. Poor ticket sales is reportedly the reason for the closure.
CA anticipated on Wednesday that 21,000 fans would attend Day 1 of the second Test at the 60,000-seat venue, which meant shaded seats on level five that are cheaper for patrons to purchase would not be released unless demand increased significantly. Those who purchased tickets have thus found that they have been moved to the lower levels which have no shades. Temperatures are expected to hit 40 degrees Celsius over the five days.
The decision has been slammed by fans and officials alike. Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan urged CA to open the shaded top tier seats. “In my view, when it’s 38C out there — and it’ll be even hotter than that inside the stadium — giving people the opportunity to sit in the shade seems to be a no-brainer,” he is quoted as saying by PerthNow. “I don’t know the reason, I’ve been told it might be because it looks better on TV. But look — 38C, it seems sensible to let people sit in the shade when there are all-shaded areas there. I would encourage Cricket Australia just to allow people to do that.”
Cancer Council WA SunSmart manager Mark Strickland said it was “irresponsible” to deny cricket fans the use of well-shaded seats at a time of the year when they were most needed.“From our point of view, this is a simple question of public health,” he said. “Perth has some of the strongest UV radiation in the world. We also know that shade is very effective in reducing UV radiation. Spending the full day at the cricket will expose you to a large dose of UV, so it is vital that people are well protected. Obviously people need to provide their own sun protection in the form of broad-brimmed hats, long clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen, but denying the public the use of the well shaded seats — for which we have all paid — at a time of the year when they are most needed is irresponsible,” he said according to PerthNow.
@CAComms CA terrible decision not to open Level 5 of Perth Stadium for the test. I was going to take my kids as walk up on day and sit in shade – haven’t bought tix as no need – 60,000 seat stadium provided by our Govt – was hardly going to sell out
— Tony Beckett (@BeckettTony) 13 December 2018
“To have a stadium that has well shaded seats, and then to simply withhold access to those seats for some unstated reason, but reasons I am assuming are commercial, it makes us angry, because it seems to be a clear case of profit coming before public health,” he said.
While CA has been on a drive to reconnect with fans after the 2017 ball-tampering scandal and its aftermath, many of them have been left disgruntled by this decision, as reported in the Australian media.
The stadium has been built on a budget of 1.6 billion Australian Dollars and the bill has been footed by Western Australian taxpayers at a cost of 1600 Australian Dollars per household. The top tier was designed with cricket in mind — the gaps at the back of the stands were engineered to allow the sea breeze to enter the stadium and one of the major sells for cricket to move from the WACA Ground to the new stadium was the increased shade and amenity.
A CA spokesperson has been quoted as saying by ABC News that many Australian fans “prefer to sit in the sun. “We offer free sunscreen to all fans attending the stadium and encourage them to be sun smart regularly through in-stadium messaging,” the spokesman said. “Many of our fans prefer to sit in the sun and come prepared to do that. There are still plenty of seats available for sale on level one and three which will enjoy shade for a majority of the day.”