Wembley go to work on new pitch ahead of FA Cup final

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A new pitch is being laid at Wembley following criticism of the playing surface there, with work commencing yesterday. It is the 11th new pitch since the stadium reopened in 2007.

All four managers of the FA Cup semi-finalists complained about the pitch and the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, Gordon Taylor, described it as an "embarrassment". The FA Cup final between Chelsea and Portsmouth will be played at the venue on 15 May, a week after the FA Vase and Trophy finals. Four play-off finals and England's friendly with Mexico are also scheduled for an eight-day period at the end of next month.

"Wembley Stadium can confirm that a new pitch will be installed," a statement said yesterday. "We will continue working with The Sports Turf Research Institute [STRI] to install and maintain the new turf.

"The pitch will be the same type as was used in the latter part of last year. We feel confident we will be able to deliver and sustain a good pitch for our busy football schedule in May."

The stadium hosted a Guinness Premiership rugby union match between Saracens and Harlequins on Saturday.