Council flags ticket refunds as stadium numbers under fire
Tickets could be refunded or games played without fans at upcoming NRL games at Sunshine Coast Stadium after it came under fire for overcrowding.
Despite a shoulder injury to captain Cameron Smith, the Storm defeated Newcastle Knights 26 to 16 on Sunday afternoon.
But it was the crowd and lack of social distancing which stole the headlines, with particular concern about the packed eastern hill at the stadium.
Sunshine Coast Council has had conversations with Queensland Health and will have a meeting this afternoon to discuss a "revised" COVID-19 plan.
The council's former COVID Safe plan allowed for 6000 people to attend the August 2 event - less than half the venue-certified capacity.
There were 5437 attendees at Sunday's match.
Sunshine Coast Council manager for sports and community venues Grantley Switzer said it was concerning.
"If there is a significant reduction to people on the hill, we are confident it will satisfy all parties," Mr Switzer said.
"It can hold 3000 people so we believe a 40 per cent drop … is significant."
Mr Switzer said if the public did not comply with the new guidelines this weekend, future games could be played without crowds.
"100 per cent," he said.
"We have to be very strict with our plan. It's very detailed, not done on the back of a napkin.
"We've got the majority of things right."
Mr Switzer said ticket sales were cut off to the public last week as Victoria's case numbers continued to spiral and that more tickets could be refunded.
"There is a likelihood we may have to refund tickets, we just need to know the exact number," he said.
He said council was "very hopeful" of securing the Storm's final three home games.
It comes after the Melbourne Storm requested the stadium "review its crowd management practices and capacity" before the home game against Canterbury this Saturday.
"The stadium operates under a site specific COVID-19 safe plan approved by Queensland Health and includes having Queensland Police in attendance," a Storm statement read.
"The attendance of 5437 was inside the 50 per cent capacity approved by Queensland Health for sporting events of this nature in Queensland."