Sports fans appear to have taken Melbourne Cricket Ground's (MCG) status as an Ashes venue quite literally last month by smuggling in the mortal remains of loved ones to scatter on its turf during an open day.
The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) does not allow the scattering of ashes at the iconic cricket and Australian Rules venue but several piles of remains were left behind after some 30,000 visitors had departed the stadium.
MCC spokesman Shane Brown said the ashes were a potential hazard to athletes and were unlikely to remain where they were scattered for long. "Often you find in the ashes there are small fragments of bone that are left in the ash and that can be quite sharp and jagged and for footballers and cricketers running across the turf that can be quite dangerous," he told ABC news on Sunday.
"The most important message for anyone who wants to do this is to understand that over time their loved one's ashes will actually be removed from the MCG and discarded into waste, because we replace the turf quite regularly as part of our maintenance programme.
"So anyone's ashes that were on the turf won't stay at the MCG, which was the intention in the first place." The MCG, which has a capacity of 100,000, is expected to be full to the brim when it hosts the fourth Ashes test starting on Boxing Day.
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)