Wembley Stadium turf under the spotlight

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The condition of Wembley Stadium’s turf has been criticized after it hosted an English Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City just 28 hours after holding an NFL game.

A fixture between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles that was played on Wembley’s Desso GrassMaster hybrid pitch on October 28 was blamed by EPL players and staff for the worn state of the surface.

With three NFL matches being played on the turf on three consecutive weeks, the turf showed obvious signs of wear even before the October 28 fixture, with large bare and brown patches running through the length of the field.

Eagles players after the NFL game remarked how it wasn’t in a great state even prior to their kick-off.

“The playing surface wasn’t great to tell you the truth. When you play in a stadium like Wembley, which holds so many big games I’m sure it’s hard to keep the pitch in top condition. When we went out for warm ups we found we had to switch cleats for something a bit longer,” said Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce.

The use of longer cleats combined with the physical nature of the game resulted in the pitch being left in a poor state for soccer. Groundstaff at Wembley Stadium worked tirelessly following the game to get it in shape for the EPL fixture yet players were still critical of its condition.

With English soccer side Tottenham Hotspur building its US$1.1bn stadium with a retractable artificial pitch designed to host American football, it is hoped this may be avoided in the future.

It was recently announced that London will host four games in 2019, with two scheduled to take place in Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium and the other two at Wembley.

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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