Official broadcaster Channel Seven has weighed into the Etihad Stadium roof debate, sending a clear message to the venue and the AFL: close it permanently.
Calls for the AFL to implement a blanket ‘‘closed roof policy’’ for all Etihad Stadium games intensified following highly negative comments from both coaches in Sunday’s Melbourne-Brisbane game.
Lions coach Justin Leppitsch and Melbourne coach Paul Roos both voiced strong opinions after the game, saying they did not understand why the retractable roof remained open for some day games when the coaches, players and umpires all preferred it to be shut.
Lewis Martin, Seven’s managing director in Melbourne, then confirmed on Monday that the broadcaster felt the shadow the roof casts over the ground during day games also made it unpleasant for television viewers.
‘‘You only have to watch your TV screen to know the preferred option. And that’s clearly to close the roof,’’ Martin said.
The AFL has flagged a more ‘‘flexible’’ approach to opening and closing the roof next season as part of a range of measures to enhance the experience of spectators.
At present, there is a blanket closed roof policy for twilight and night games. For day games, stadium officials make a decision earlier in the day based on factors such as weather and then consult with the AFL ground manager, who then makes the final call.
Once the decision has been made to close or open the roof, that decision stands for the entire match.
Several coaches have already expressed dismay over the policy after games this season, however the criticism reached a new level with Roos and Leppitsch on Sunday, and the issue was still frustrating many supporters venting on social media on Monday.
Etihad boss Paul Sergeant said last week that the stadium was be open to a more flexible policy next year.
But Roos said key figures in the industry did not want flexibility.
‘‘I don’t understand why it’s open, because it’s an indoor stadium,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s bizarre.’’