No post-COVID crowd world record at MCG

Hopes of a world record stadium attendance for a sporting event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic were dashed despite 51,723 fans turning out at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the match between Carlton and Collingwood.

Authorities in Victoria had on Tuesday lifted a cap on crowds at sporting events to 75% from 50% of stadium capacity after declaring the state officially COVID-free.

That would have allowed a maximum of 75,000 fans, without masks, to pack the 100,000-seater MCG for the Carlton-Collingwood AFL match.

The crowd for one of Australian sport’s oldest and fiercest rivalries was the biggest for any sporting fixture in the southern hemisphere since the shutdown of sport caused by the pandemic last year.

It bettered the 49,218 who turned out at the MCG last week for Carlton’s match against Richmond.

It was, however, well short of the 67,200 and 66,352 fans the first two Twenty20 cricket matches between India and England attracted to the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad earlier this month.

But the AFL will be confident of surpassing those marks with a match at the MCG before too long.

The MCG hosted 86,174 at the Women’s T20 World Cup final between Australia and India on March 8, 2020 before social distancing rules banned mass gatherings for several months.

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