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 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 13:57 GMT
Charlton demand Chelsea rematch
Stamford Bridge's poor playing surface
Chelsea's pitch will be relayed at the end of the season
Charlton Athletic have demanded their Premiership game against Chelsea be replayed because of the state of the Stamford Bridge pitch.

Chelsea are set to relay their playing surface after it deteriorated severely and now the Addicks have claimed their 4-1 defeat was played "on an artificial sand surface."

The south London club claim that the game breached FA Premier League rule 17 section I which states that matches have to be played on grass.

"At no time prior to our fixture at Stamford Bridge on 11 January were we informed by Chelsea that we would be playing on an artificial sand surface," said Charlton chief executive Peter Varney.

"On arrival at Stamford Bridge, we were advised by Chelsea officials that the game was in doubt and the pitch was being inspected by the match referee, Mike Dean.

In the interests of the integrity of the FA Premier League and sportsmanship between clubs, we must lodge a formal complaint to the FA Premier League

Charlton chief Peter Varney

"Alan Curbishley immediately raised the matter with the referee and was advised the pitch met the league criteria of 'being flat' and on this basis the match would go ahead.

"We were not offered an opportunity for our players to train on the artificial surface to judge the effect of the bounce of the ball

"In our opinion, video evidence will show the bounce was different to a normal grass surface.

"Chelsea officials advise us that their players trained on the pitch on Thursday and Friday of last week, and the footwear worn by their players in the match was appropriate for an artificial surface.

"The footwear worn by some of our players was not appropriate for the surface and again we will refer to video evidence on this point.

"In the interests of the integrity of the FA Premier League and sportsmanship between member clubs, we must lodge a formal complaint to the FA Premier League.

Chelsea responded to Charlton's complaint issuing a statement which drew attention to the referee's judgement that the pitch was playable.

"Chelsea have not received any request from either the Football Association or Charlton Athletic regarding a replay of Saturday's match," read the statement.

"The referee and match officials carried out an inspection of the pitch before the game.

"Their decision was that the surface was in a satisfactory condition for the match to be played."

However Chelsea have pledged "full co-operation" with the League probe.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Sport's Nigel Adderley
"Charlton say it amounted to an artificial pitch"
 Former referee Roger Milford
"From a referee's point of view it was playable"
 Chelsea legend Peter Osgood
"It's just sour grapes from Charlton"
 VOTE RESULTS
Should Chelsea v Charlton be replayed because of the pitch?

Yes
 55.07% 

No
 44.93% 

25232 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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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