Australian Football League chiefs were fuming Monday after the women’s grand final was forced to move from Brisbane’s Gabba ground after the surface was deemed unsafe after concerts by Adele.
Brisbane Lions won the right to host the Aussie Rules decider after an undefeated trailblazing season but instead will now play Adelaide on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The Gabba, venue for the opening Ashes cricket Test against England in November, was churned up by fans of the British superstar singer during her hugely successful Australian tour this month, sparking concerns about player safety.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said he was bitterly disappointed the venue would not be available for the final in the women’s debut season of the nationally popular sport, despite weeks of discussions.
“The AFL is profoundly disappointed the Gabba surface is not able to be presented for the showpiece match,” McLachlan said.
Brisbane Lions chief Greg Swann said the club had been “absolutely let down” by the Gabba ground staff’s decision to sow new grass on the surface.
“Our question is why the grass was sown, knowing that there were games coming up. Why that’s been allowed to happen is beyond us,” he said.
Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland also expressed disappointment.
“This is a very unfortunate situation to be dealing with,” Sutherland said.
“As long-term tenants of the Gabba, we’re very sympathetic to the Brisbane Lions and the AFL’s situation.
“Since the recent damage to the centre wicket block, we’ve had very constructive talks with Stadiums Queensland and have been given reassurances from them on the quality of the pitch for the first Test of the Ashes.”