Wembley to revamp pitch for next England game

Wembley Stadium is to replace its pitch following the 16 December Race of Champions event that will see an asphalt track built on top of the turf.

Wembley claims it has always planned to replace the track after the event and is "growing a pitch" in preparation.

Wembley is unable to confirm whether InTurf, which supplied the turf for its first pitch, is supplying the new grass to replace the pitch in time for England's next football match on 6 February.

Wembley is also unable to confirm reports that it is considering using Desso Sports' reinforced grass for the pitch.

Desso representative Lee Gladwell told HW that he has not yet been approached by Wembley but believes that Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside, who sits on the FA committee, suggested using the artificial-grass technology.

"No one has approached us but whether or not they will in the future is another matter," he said.

"Investing in our technology is a big undertaking and it's whether or not it gives them the flexibility they need. It would help in the right conditions but in the end it's not going to be a utopia," Gladwell added.

Last week's 3-2 England defeat by Croatia was held just three weeks after an NFL event that turned the pitch into a mud bath.

A Wembley representative said: "Our grounds team worked round the clock to get the pitch in the best condition possible for Wednesday's game - they could not have done more. However, we accept that the playing surface was not ideal.

"As one of the largest stadiums in the world, with a diverse range and number of events, we face some tough challenges in regards to the pitch," he said.

"We'll be reviewing the event calendar going forward and developing a long-term pitch strategy so that we can fulfil that event calendar without compromising the quality of the pitch."

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