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Wembley pitch consultants resign

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The pitch consultants in charge of Wembley Stadium's problematic surface have resigned, it was announced on Wednesday.

The announcement by the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) follows mounting criticism of the playing surface that reached a crescendo after the FA Cup semi-finals.

STRI, who have been the pitch consultants for the last 13 months will leave their position at the end of June.

Gordon McKillop, STRI's chief executive said: "We have had many constructive and positive discussions with Wembley over the last few weeks on what would be the best way forward to make significant improvements to the pitch.

In relation to this STRI presented an alternative strategy for 2010 to change the construction of the pitch, which Wembley agreed was the best way forward and is now proceeding with this.

"We are pleased that Wembley has adopted our proposed strategy which should see improvements to the pitch during 2010. This new structure of pitch does not require the previous level of research and consultancy from the STRI team and, therefore, we feel it is the right time to resign."

After the FA Cup semi-finals Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp described the surface as "ridiculous" and Spurs striker Peter Crouch said it was worse than any he had encountered at the stadium previously.

Wembley chiefs relaid the pitch at a cost of around £125,000 and embarked on a major review of the surface.

It is anticipated, however, that unless there is major reconstruction of the pitch it may have to be relaid several times a year.

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