Wembley admits dodgy pitch is providing 'unique problem'

Stadium bosses pledge to improve surface before Chelsea-Portsmouth final

Wembley chiefs yesterday admitted that there was justification for the criticism of the standard of pitch for the FA Cup semi-finals and are reviewing options to improve the surface.

There was widespread criticism following the semi-finals and Wembley say it is "probable" the pitch will be replaced before the final.

A Wembley Stadium spokesperson said in a statement: "We accept and understand the frustrations around the standard of the pitch at Wembley for last weekend's FA Cup semi-finals.

"The problems faced on Saturday were due to the way the surface was prepared and the measures used overnight were unable to resolve the situation sufficiently for the match on Sunday."

Wembley say football is the top priority but they need to replace the pitch several times a year to hold other events. A decision on whether to replace the pitch again – this one has only been down for four weeks – will be made after the weekend.

The spokesperson added: "There is a unique challenge with the surface at Wembley and we are working with expert pitch consultants to get it right. Wembley Stadium is a multi-purpose venue and we have to hold other events as part of the business plan, which means regular pitch replacements each year. Football is the No 1 priority and we understand we have to find a way to deliver and sustain a consistent quality pitch and replicate the successful formula that we developed in the second half of last year. We are currently reviewing all options to provide the best surface for the busy period going forward, including a probable pitch replacement. We will make this decision after the weekend."

Arsene Wenger added to the debate yesterday saying that the state of the Wembley pitch is "not acceptable" for a country bidding for the 2018 World Cup.

The Arsenal manager is a big supporter of England's bid but has been dismayed to see the criticism which saw the Wembley pitch labelled a "disgrace" by the Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp following his side's FA Cup semi-final defeat against Portsmouth on Sunday.

"I saw yesterday that they have relayed it 10 times," Wenger said yesterday. "It looks like relaying the pitch is not the problem. They have to go deeper into the problem.

"I support personally the campaign for England for the World Cup in 2018. I try to be active on it so I can't imagine that England goes for the bid for the World Cup with a bad pitch. They have to sort out the problem. They have to sort it out.

"I don't know if it would harm England's campaign, I just want to feel comfortable that England have the most renowned football stadium in the world. To have a bad pitch is not acceptable. I'm confident that the confederation will sort it out but it cannot remain that everybody complains about the pitch after the game. It's not good enough. It is a football country. It is the best league in the world and so what we want to show to the rest of the world is that we have the best pitches in the world."

Gordon Taylor, head of the players' union, added: "The pitch is a big concern. It is becoming an embarrassment for the FA and it needs to be addressed and addressed properly.

"There is no point worrying about the finances of Wembley if people are going to be wary of playing there because the pitch is not up to it and you don't get a fair contest."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
News
Andy Murray shakes hands after defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy in the third round of Wimbledon, Saturday 4 July, 2015
Wimbledon
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
News
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
News
Could Greece leave the EU?
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'