Wembley Pitches In Again

Faced with high-profile criticism of the playing surface and the prospect of seven important soccer matches before the end of May, Wembley National Stadium Ltd. (WNSL) has dug up the pitch and is laying another one.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger were both vehemently critical of the pitch after their sides lost FA Cup semi-finals on it. Wembley is now admitting its plan to have an all-purpose surface isn’t working.

The much-maligned fibre rye-grass pitch, which was expected to cope with back-to-back concerts and soccer matches, has been replaced by a sand-soil combination.

The pitches were changed over the April 25-26 weekend at a cost of about £90,000. WNSL and the FA have spent an estimated £500,000 on digging up and replacing the pitch five times since the £800 million stadium opened in 2007.

Wembley is restricted in its playing surface options because the servicing debt and running costs means football usage is shared with concerts and other attractions.

This summer’s concert schedule features U2, Coldplay, Oasis, AC/DC, and Take That, while the national soccer side takes on Andorra, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia and Belarus.