ETIHAD Stadium says an AFL report has absolved the venue of any blame for the season-ending knee injury suffered by Brisbane Lions' big man Michael Close.
Close damaged his anterior cruciate ligament when he slid towards an apparently uneven patch of synthetic turf near the interchange gates during last Sunday's loss to North Melbourne.
But in a statement released on Friday, the stadium's CEO Paul Sargeant said a commissioned report had "overwhelmingly vindicated the presentation and safety of the venue’s playing surface".
Sargeant said although Etihad Stadium's management had empathy for Close, the report found "no difference within the playing characteristics of either surface within the interchange areas".
The area of artificial turf was extended ahead of the 2015 season. The product selected is AFL licensed and its installation was ticked-off by the League.
The report stated that Etihad's surface performed well in terms of turf coverage, surface levels and hardness, and Sargeant said its findings had been accepted by the AFL and circulated to involved parties.
Whencontacted by AFL.com.au on Friday,the Lions' football manager Dean Warren said the club would not make anydecisions in response to the AFL report until after it had received thefindings from a separate investigation by the AFL Players' Association.
TheLions could also launch their own independent report into the surface.
Warrensaid the Lions had not yet fully considered whether they would pursue legalaction to seek compensation, although he said Close and his management couldlaunch their own bid.
"We'vegot a game of footy to win tomorrow night (against Richmond), that's been ourfocus towards the end of the week," Warren said.
Closewent under the knife to mend his knee in Melbourne on Thursday night, withWarren saying the surgery was a success.
"He's spending a bit of time back home with hisparents, and when it settles down we'll get him back up for a while and go fromthere from a recovery point of view."