Wembley chiefs to review options after accepting criticism

WEMBLEY chiefs will decide early next week whether or not to re-lay the pitch for an 11th time after accepting justification for criticism received after the FA Cup semi-finals over the weekend.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp described the surface as a “disgrace” after his side’s defeat by Portsmouth, prompting stadium bosses to review their options ahead of a gruelling schedule, which includes seven major events in six weeks.

Wembley chiefs are set to meet after Saturday’s Premiership rugby union match between Saracens and Harlequins, although they say it is “probable” the pitch will be replaced again before the next event, the FA Cup final, on 15 May.

A spokesman said: “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.”

The current surface was laid just four weeks ago, but Wembley chiefs insist they always knew that regular replacements were needed to meet contractual requirements to hold other events.

“There is a unique challenge with the surface at Wembley and we are working with expert pitch consultants to get it right,” the spokesperson added.

“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 number one priority and we understand we have to find a way to deliver and sustain a consistent quality pitch.”