Wembley's turf set for replacement following criticism from football's Wenger and Ferguson

Wembley Stadium is to rip up its turf following massive controversy over FA cup semi-final matches that drew condemnation from club managers.

Stadium organisers took a furious drubbing from Arsene Wenger of Arsenal and Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson following both teams' defeats. Wenger said the pitch was one of the worst in the country. Ferguson said the turf was heavy and slow after a speedway event a few days earlier.

A representative from Wembley Stadium said it had been unable to use its favoured turf, from Desso Sports Systems, because concerts made it incompatible. Desso turf has a higher artificial content but takes three months to establish — not enough time given the hectic scheduling of rock concerts and other events.

"We are working continuously with independent consultants and the grounds team to assess maintenance procedures and pitch composition," the Wembley representative said. "They aim to overcome these challenges and ensure the most suitable surface is achieved."

Existing turf would be replaced in the summer with a new pitch "of a different composition and from a different turf nursery". She would not reveal the nursery. "It is believed this composition will better suit the unique environment and make it possible to deliver both a quality playing surface and a quality event calendar."

A representative from the Institute of Groundsmanship refused to comment on the story as the group worked closely with Wembley grounds manager Steve Welch. "We have to respect the wishes of the head groundsman who has a big job to do and wants to put the controversy to one side and get on with the work."


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