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Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Saturday, 15 May 2010 19:14 UK

Chelsea captain John Terry criticises Wembley pitch


England stars slate Wembley pitch

Chelsea captain John Terry took a swipe at the Football Association over the Wembley pitch after his side's 1-0 win over Portsmouth in the FA Cup final.

The state of the playing surface at the national stadium has been heavily criticised in recent weeks.

And Terry told BBC Radio 5 live: "It was not good enough for a Wembley pitch. It ruined the final and was the worst pitch I have played on all year.

"The FA have to decide if this is a football pitch or an events stadium."

In addition to showpiece football matches, Wembley also stages rugby league, rugby union and National Football League games, music concerts and even motorsport events - around a dozen non-football events a year.

Before the end of May, the venue will host five more football matches including England's penultimate World Cup warm-up match against Mexico at Wembley Stadium on 24 May.

During the rest of 2010, it will also stage rugby league's Challenge Cup final and the San Francisco 49ers against the Denver Broncos in the NFL, as well as gigs by Green Day and Muse and the Capital FM Summertime Ball.

The pitch cut up badly during the Carling Cup final between Manchester United and Aston Villa in February.

Following complaints from the managers involved in the FA Cup semi-finals, the pitch was relaid in April for the 10th time since the £750m stadium was completed in 2007.

After those games, which saw players continually lose their footing, the FA held a planning meeting with the Blues and Pompey, during which they were told they would be the first finalists to be given permission to train at the stadium on the eve of the final.

On Saturday, the pitch did not cut up as badly as it has done in the past but, coloured brown in parts, it appeared to be heavily sanded and neither side appeared to find it easy to play on.

And, following the final, Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti and Pompey counterpart Avram Grant both joined Terry in criticising the surface.

Wembley pitch has 'slipped backwards' - Triesman

"The pitch is not so good," said Grant. "It was better than the semi-final but Wembley is supposed to be the temple of football. That is not the temple of pitches."

"In the semi-final players were slipping over all the time," added Ancelotti. "This time it was different. Players stayed on their feet and didn't slip but the pitch was not so good."

Earlier this week FA chairman Lord Triesman promised that Wembley would never again suffer from a poor playing surface.

"It is still a relatively new stadium, it has a very peculiar microclimate but we have got the stadium as it is, and we know how to get it to a really good playing surface," said Triesman, who admitted that Wembley's "microclimate" has caused problems for the quality of the surface.

Last month, Wembley's operators refused to put a figure on how often the stadium's pitch will be relaid.

However, it was discovered that the surface would be changed up to seven times a year until at least 2023.

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see also
Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth
15 May 10 |  FA Cup
FA Cup final as it happened
15 May 10 |  Football
FA Cup final photos
15 May 10 |  Football
FA chief makes Wembley pitch vow
10 May 10 |  Football
Wembley pitch to be relaid often
19 Apr 10 |  Football
Saracens boss defends Wembley use
24 Mar 10 |  Saracens
Milner criticises Wembley pitch
02 Mar 10 |  Football
Why is the Wembley pitch so poor?
22 Apr 09 |  Magazine
State of Wembley pitch criticised
20 Apr 09 |  England

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