Regular pitch re-laying to continue following IOG and Wembley meeting

The regular re-laying of pitches at Wembley stadium will continue at its current pace, it emerged yesterday, following a meeting between the FA and industry bodies.

The pitch is currently being re-laid for the 11th time in 3.5 years, after renewed criticism from top football managers.

Yesterday's meeting, involving the Institute of Groundsmanship and Sports Turf Research Institute, did not produce a new direction for the way the site is managed as massive bank debts mean the stadium's heavy usage will continue until at least 2023.

IOG chief executive Geoff Webb said:  "It was a really constructive meeting that enables us to better understand the unique needs of the iconic stadium and we are hoping to work together to help ensure that a top quality playing surface can be achieved, which benefits our national stadium.

"There will be dialogue and I think that's important for both sides.  Wembley have said they will continue to work with the industry and we hope that includes us."

The FA released a statement late last night, confirming there was a budget in place for regular re-laying of the surface.

It said:  "We appreciate we have to improve the quality of the pitch and we are determined to do so. We've enjoyed constructive meetings with a number of industry consultants who support our strategy and we will continue to liaise with them.

"Under the current business plan there is provision for pitches to be changed over the course of a season, but there is no set number for this.  We will continue to review, monitor and work with industry experts to deliver a football pitch to the quality everyone in the country wants."

The £757 million stadium will go on hosting numerous types of events to pay down its debt.

It is hoped that the STRI and IOG can help the stadium better manage the new surfaces each time they are laid, at a cost of £100,000.

The intensive use of the facility led Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger last week to suggest the state of the pitch could jeopardise England's 2018 World Cup bid.


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