Wembley stadium chief admits pitch not perfect for England

The managing director of Wembley Stadium said Monday the quality of the usually pristine turf at the London ground will be below its best when England play their next match there on Saturday.

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 11, 2014, 03:34 AM IST
Wembley stadium chief admits pitch not perfect for England

London: The managing director of Wembley Stadium said Monday the quality of the usually pristine turf at the London ground will be below its best when England play their next match there on Saturday.

However, Roger Maslin insisted the cause of the problem was not the controversial decision to host NFL matches at the ground but too much top-soil being placed on the surface in pre-season.

England manager Roy Hodgson last week questioned the Football Association`s decision to host NFL games at Wembley so close to national football team matches -- his side host Slovenia in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Saturday six days after the Dallas Cowboys played the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"We strive to deliver the best possible surface, so I`m slightly disappointed that the surface isn`t as good as it should be but I`m confident it will be back to its pristine state after a winter renovation," Maslin told the FA`s website on Monday.

"This isn`t so much a problem of the NFL but of our summer renovation and I am confident the renovation will get it back to how it`s been ever since we switched over to Desso (a hybrid surface) in 2010.

"However, due to slightly too much topsoil during the summer renovation there`s more marking and scarring on the pitch than we`d want."

The Desso surface has artificial fibres woven into the natural grass, providing for a more resilient pitch.

Maslin met Hodgson for talks after his comments last week and will hold a further meeting with the England manager later this week..

"Roy is totally entitled to his opinion," Maslin added. "We have a very good working relationship with the England team and we`ll be working closely with them this week to ensure we deliver the best possible playing surface for the game on Saturday.

"I met Roy at the end of last week and no doubt we`ll pick up with the team on Thursday and Friday this week too.

"While the pitch will not be of the very highest standard we want for the Slovenia game, it will still be a good playing surface. We do expect it to be back to its best by March for the Lithuania game."