Wembley to meet pitch experts

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Wembley officials have called a meeting with pitch experts on Monday to try to solve the crisis over the playing surface.

The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) have been asked to a meeting with stadium chiefs following criticism of the pitch after last weekend's FA Cup semi-finals. The organisation say this may be the start of the process to find a permanent solution to the situation.

A statement from the IOC said: "The IOG is pleased to have been invited to a meeting with Wembley Stadium on Monday and hope it might be the start of finding a long-term solution to the problems of the playing surface at our national stadium."

Wembley have admitted the pitch is not up to scratch, and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned the poor surface could affect England's 2018 World Cup bid.

Wenger has branded the pitch "not acceptable" and says the FA cannot merely continue replacing the turf without going to the root of the problem.

Experts say to do that, the pitch needs to be dug up completely and re-done - a process that takes six weeks.

Stadium officials say they will "probably" replace the pitch again before the FA Cup final - for what would be the 11th time since the new Wembley opened in 2007.

A decision will be taken following Monday's meeting, and after this weekend's Guinness Premiership rugby union match between Saracens and Harlequins.

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