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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 15:13 GMT
Chelsea pitch probe starts
Stamford Bridge before it was relaid after the Charlton game
Charlton said there was no grass on Chelsea's pitch
The Premier League has begun its formal inquiry into the pitch dubbed "Stamford Beach."

Charlton chief executive Peter Varney has demanded that the game, which Chelsea won 4-1 on a heavily-sanded Stamford Bridge, be replayed.

The League's three-man board began talks with Chelsea and Charlton officials, including Varney, at 1030 GMT on Monday.

Connaught Square chiefs will decide to either dismiss Varney's request for the game to be replayed "on grass".

Or they will agree there is a case to answer and pass the case to an independent commission for further investigation.

Charlton insist Chelsea were in breach or League rule 17, section one, which states: "No league match shall be played on an artificial surface."

The Addicks claim a Blues official told them the game was played on "the base on which a new pitch was to be directly laid."

Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri even referred to the pitch as a "beach", although it has subsequently been relaid with new turf.

The Premier League was forced to deny Chelsea chairman Ken Bates' claim last week that "the League has dismissed the complaint out of hand and there will be no replay."


In the wake of the controversy surrounding Chelsea's pitch, we look at horror surfaces from days gone by.
Mud, sweat and cheers


BBC Sport Online takes a look at the state of the pitch at Stamford BridgeSand blast
Chelsea's Stamford Bridge pitch under fire
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