Up to 30,000 fans will be able to attend each day of this year’s Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) – 5,000 more than had previously been announced.

The higher attendance capacity will be permitted after a COVID-safe event plan submitted by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia was endorsed by the State of Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton.

The MCG has a capacity of 100,000 and in October it was announced that up to 25,000 fans would be able to attend the Boxing Day Test between Australia and India. This has been increased to 30,000 today (Thursday) following a run of 41 days without a positive COVID-19 case in Victoria.

Martin Pakula, Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, said: “Melbourne is the home of Australia’s biggest and most-loved sporting events and it’s fantastic that we will be able to welcome 30,000 fans to the MCG on each day of the Boxing Day Test.

“It’s testament to the hard work of all Victorians in fighting the virus that Cricket Australia and the MCC have been able to put together a plan that allows for more supporters than had been originally planned.”

In October, the MCG agreed a new three-year deal with Cricket Australia to continue hosting international and domestic events until at least 2022.

The MCG staged its first Boxing Day Test back in 1950. Since 1980, there has only been one year which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the stadium and that was 1989, when a one-day international was played instead.

Australia’s Test series against India will begin at the Adelaide Oval from December 17-21 before the MCG plays host from December 26-30. The third and fourth Tests will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground from January 7-11 and The Gabba in Brisbane from January 15-19.

General public tickets for the Boxing Day Test will go on sale tomorrow.

Image: Rajiv Bhuttan/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size