The SANFL has unveiled plans for a $5.5 million lighting upgrade at AAMI Stadium, which it says will allow the ground to host major international events.
The upgrade will allow Adelaide to host FIFA World Cup matches. As part of the stadium's proposed $100 million redevelopment in the next five years, four new state-of-the-art, 76m light towers will be erected by the start of the 2009 AFL season.
They will replace the original, controversial 57m lights which were built in 1984 after six years of haggling with residents over their height and design.
"This is all about bringing AAMI Stadium up to international standard," SANFL executive commissioner Leigh Whicker said. "The new lights will not only be great for football but provide quality lighting for any international sporting event, including FIFA's requirements on soccer."
Mr Whicker conceded the current lighting system was no longer effective and had restricted AAMI Stadium from hosting world-class events.
On Sunday, Football Federation Australia chief Ben Buckley said AAMI Stadium and nearby Adelaide Oval were under investigation to see if they are capable of hosting World Cup matches as Australia considers bidding for the 2018 event.
The new lights – which have been granted Major Development status by the State Government – are more aesthetically appealing, will direct significantly more light on to the playing arena, reduce glare and cut light overspill to the stadium's neighbouring houses and roads by about 50 per cent.
This will be achieved by raising the masts and fitting them with new, state-of-the-art headframes. The headframes, which will each consist of 135 lights, also will be tilted at an angle of 15-degrees into the stadium as opposed to the current 90-degrees.
On-site work on the new lights is expected to start in September next year and be completed by March, 2009. Local residents will receive a brochure from the SANFL within the next 48 hours detailing the lighting upgrade.
"The design of the headframes is as good as anything you'll see in the world and we're confident this is a win-win for everyone," Mr Whicker said, adding the SANFL had come up with the design after a thorough review of interstate and overseas lighting systems.