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Iconic MCG could soon be covered with new lightweight roof

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Melbourne, Nov 7 (IANS) Australia's iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) could be fitted with a retractable roof in what would be one of the biggest stadium redevelopments ever attempted.

The MCG is in line for the major makeover but the dimensions of the stadium 173.6-metre long and 148.3-metre wide make it a hugely difficult logistical task, reports Xinhua.

Stephen Gough, the chief executive of the ground, said a roof would improve the ground's versatility but the size of the stadium would prove to be an issue.

"There is no stadium that is that size that has a retractable roof," he said on Monday. "We are just thinking that the advances in technology of what you have seen with roofs on stadiums all around Europe and America, admittedly smaller, a lightweight structure would be the answer."

Gough, who leaves his post early in 2017, said the technology required to fit the MCG with a lightweight weatherproof roof already existed.

"I think technology is on our side here and the engineers are working on all sorts of solutions about that," Gough told News Limited on Monday.

Gough said that continually improving the MCG was the only way the stadium would keep its position as the "benchmark" globally for events, environmental impact and turf quality.

"You could have a lightweight, retractable roof if it was felt that was what we wanted to have," he said. "I think the opportunities are quite enormous."

Gough oversaw the $357-million redevelopment of northern side of the stadium in 2005, one of the most significant achievements of his 17-year tenure.

Approximately four million people visit the MCG every year.

--IANS

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