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 Friday, 17 January, 2003, 08:52 GMT
Do Charlton deserve a rematch?
The sandy pitch at Stamford Bridge which provoked the complaint
The Premier League meets to discuss Charlton's call for their match with Chelsea to be replayed.

Should they play again?


Charlton Athletic complained that their Premiership game with Chelsea should be replayed, blaming their 4-1 defeat on the sand-covered pitch.

Chairman Peter Varney insists that the 'pitch' they endured at Stamford Bridge breaches League rules on playing surfaces.

Blades of grass on the turf were few and far between, with Addicks fans claiming the ground should be re-named 'Stamford Beach".

League chiefs are set to meet to discus the complaint and rematch request, which is unprecedented.

How should the issue be resolved?


This debate is now closed. See below for a selection of your e-mails.



When they took to the field, they obviously thought it was playable. They can't just moan about it afterwards.
Munch, Wales

The decision has been made and it should not be questioned at all. The credibility of the match official is at stake if the FA granted Charlton a rematch.

Winning and losing is part of the game, but the final decision needs to respected by both teams. In the first place, Charlton should have lodged a complaint/protest before the match started, not just when they lost badly to Chelsea.
Fury Howard Augustine, Malaysia

Simple answer: no, Charlton do not deserve a rematch! The referee said that the pitch was fine to play on and it was played on fine! Chelsea won the match fair and square, and professional footballers should be able to play on any pitch!!
Chantelle O'Hara, England

I don't think they deserve a rematch. The surface didn't prevent Chelsea scoring four times did it? It's just sour grapes. I'm sure Charlton would say nothing if they had won.
Stuart Ball, England

I don't think a replay will be granted by the FA, but at least Chelsea should offered it to Charlton for good sportsmanship

Ellis, China

As a neutral I think it is appalling that this game went ahead. The 'pitch' was disgusting and the referee should have called the game off and submitted a report. The game should then have been played at Charlton and Chelsea should have been fined for not providing a pitch suitable for football - they are after all a professional team in the top flight.

That said, none of this happened. So the referee should be fined (he is also supposed to be a professional) and Chelsea fined. You can't go replaying games when you don't get the result you want, otherwise we would be asking for a replay every time a referee makes a mistake that results in a goal.
Mark, England

The pitch at Old Trafford for the Chelsea game was worse to play on than Stamford Bridge!
Dean, England

When I saw pitch from the high light of the game with my friends, we can't believe our eyes. Is this really a premiership match? I think it is unfair for Charlton, they don't have the chance to test the pitch, so didn't have suitable footwear on. The pitch matters a lot at this level, if you make a slip, it could cost a goal. And this is what happened to Charlton in the game. I don't think a replay will be granted by the FA, but at least Chelsea should offered it to Charlton for good sportsmanship.
Ellis, China

If the match is replayed it totally undermines the officials, they said it should be played it was so Charlton should worry about forthcoming matches and anyway the pitch wasn't a danger to the players and on the money they earn they should be able to play on practically anything.
Tommy, UK

I think Charlton have a good case, particularly as Chelsea did not allow them to practice on the beach, ahem I mean pitch. This is the sort of thing I would expect from Ken Bates - didn't they sell the turf to Hollywood?? Typical Chelsea attitude - throw money at a problem and hope it goes away. Charlton win my moral vote because they don't have a monster like him running affairs!!
Jon, UK

The ref made a mistake letting the game go on. If it was a last minute penalty and Chelsea won, the game would not be replayed would it!
Ben, England

The fact that the referee gave the go ahead should have been the last we heard of it. Had the result gone the other way this would be the case. Stop crying Charlton and get on with it. Chelsea have played on sub-standard pitches and lost in the past and they did not complain. The pitch was flat. End of story. If it is replayed I hope Chelsea win 5-1!
Guy Panting, England

Would they have hosted Man Utd or Arsenal with that pitch?

Steve, England

All those accusing Charlton of moaning because they lost would do well to read Charlton's full statement on their website. Chelsea apparently practiced on this pitch twice during the week and therefore had a clear advantage. They knew beforehand how the surface played. I don't believe it will be replayed, but fairness dictates that it should. They'll probably still win anyway... typical Charlton fan confidence!
Mike, London, UK

I'm a Chelsea fan and Chelsea won the game fairly. Charlton are just very bad losers. they wouldn't complain if they had won the game. The result should stand, 4-1 to Chelsea.
Zoe Ayton, England

The Stamford Bridge pitch has been a disgrace for some weeks and it is no surprise that this has coincided with a much improved home record this season. The Chelsea players were allegedly wearing Astroturf boots and it is grossly unfair that Charlton were not given the same opportunity. This is not sour grapes from Charlton or their supporters, it is about time we were heard!
David Bates, England

I think the game should have been postponed not replayed. Charlton should have raised objections at the time, rather than wait until they suffered a rather humiliating defeat. Quoting Rule 17 isn't applicable either. Sand isn't an artificial surface, it is a material that occurs naturally!
Mike, UK

Would they have hosted Man Utd or Arsenal with that pitch? I don't think Sir Alex or Wenger would agree to play on it. And if it was them complaining and not Charlton would the complaint be up held straight away? Chelsea should have to replay the game. They have already had the profits for that game and any further monies should go to charity.
Steve, England

Dock Charlton three points for bad sportsmanship!

Chris, Spain

How many of the remarks refusing a replay are from Chelsea fans? As a Villa fan I truly believe a game of football at any league level is played on grass. The Premiership is not beach football, grass is what we play on. Chelsea should be deducted the points and they be given to Charlton. This would set a precedent for all clubs to follow and hopefully this will never happen again.
Jason Joyce, UK

As a Newcastle supporter I think that Chelsea should have six points docked and be made to play the game again. No ulterior motive, honest!
David, UK

Chelsea should be deducted their three points and be fined heavily. Let's face it, if this had been Chelsea playing on sand at Charlton, Birmingham or West Ham these clubs would face the wrath of the Premier League without Chelsea even making a complaint. It is about time that there was equality in the Premier League in terms of fair treatment.
Lee Fear, UK

Dock Charlton three points for bad sportsmanship! We could all see that the pitch was bad. Curbishley didn't complain before the game and went on record afterwards to say that the pitch was not to blame for the defeat.
Chris, Spain

Players need to adapt to beach soccer so that they can play in oldies tournaments when they retire from the top flight.
Anon

Stop giving the referee such a hard time

Ken Fowler, Canada

Charlton could've complained before the game but they didn't and the ref said the pitch is playable, so therefore they can't replay. No matter if the referee's decision is wrong, they're right because they're the officials. It's like Portsmouth v Leicester, they had video proof that they couldn't play the ball, but they agreed with the ref in the first place so they played.
Fraser Ward, England

The pitch is awful yes but both teams had to play on it and it's not as if Chelsea had any kind of advantage. Charlton are being sore losers. They should concentrate of future matches instead.
Rebecca Davies, Wales

Charlton did try and complain before the match was played but were denied access to the match referee by the Chelsea security team. That is the reason why Charlton couldn't complain before the match. And what would have happened if Charlton had refused to play? I think we need to remind ourselves of that time when 'Boro said they couldn't turn a team out at Blackburn a few seasons ago? They were told to play, like Charlton were, didn't and got docked three points for it. This would have happened to Charlton if they had refused to play.
Martin, England

Rematch? Fines? I've never heard such garbage. Sure, the pitch was a disgrace. But the ref gave the go ahead and that should be the end of the story. How can you cry "foul" after the fact and expect a rematch? Why don't we waste our times with rematches for bad refereeing decisions, off-sides that were never given etc? For the simple fact that it IS a waste of time.
JC, Australia

Stop giving the referee such a hard time. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on the ref to have the game played. The blame must be squarely placed on the shoulders of Chelsea. How they can justify allowing their pitch to get in such a condition? The Premier League should come down on them hard and Charlton should be given the opportunity for a replay.
Ken Fowler, Canada

Chelsea's pitch is a disgrace

Steve Reid, USA

The effect of the loss is a multi-million pound issue. Points are like printed notes. The game should be fair and in this case it wasn't.
Ross Grindley, USA

I do believe that the pitch Chelsea played on in Norway was worse. You couldn't see the players boots on that occasion! However, we lost, accepted defeat, were criticised by the media and got on with life. All Charlton have to do is accept failure in those circumstances. If you see a bad pitch, you have a negative attitude. They are passing the blame so defeat doesn't taste so bad!
Stuart Dempsey, UK

Chelsea's pitch is a disgrace and it should cause everyone to re-evaluate what 'Premiership' quality is all about. The match should not be replayed, but it should never have kicked off in the first place.
Steve Reid, USA

No, they should not have to re-play the game. Field conditions in a match do not favour only one squad.

P.S. I am an Arsenal fan!
Grey Kampala, Canada

As a Charlton supporter I think we should just forget it and let Chelsea have their moment of glory. After all, it's not that often that they beat us! If they need to put down sand to do it then shame on them! Charlton did complain to the referee before the game but what are they supposed to do? Refuse to play and face an FA fine and docking of points as well?
Tony, England

You wouldn't be expected to play beach volleyball on grass

Ben, Australia

No need for a replay, if both sides have the same conditions then it is fair.
Seaney, Yemen

It would be dangerous to allow a replay of the match after the referee had inspected the pitch and given it the thumbs-up. This would be emasculating the powers of referees, making no decision by them 'final'. Charlton should have just refused to play and then stood up for their decision when put to task.
Moses Khumalo, Swaziland

If the score was the other way, would they have asked for a rematch? If the pitch was so bad they should have withdrawn from the game, instead of playing.
Uzoma, Nigeria

From the sounds of things, I think Chelsea should switch from football to beach volleyball. If you can't play football properly on it, you might as well play some sport on it. As for the replay, why not. You wouldn't be expected to play beach volleyball on grass, so why should you have to play football on sand?
Ben, Australia

The pitch was in bad shape, and Chelsea probably deserve a fine. But to replay a match? The ref did inspect the field prior to the game and it was allowed. Charlton are stooping to new lows, and it would not at all be fair to Chelsea if the game did have to be replayed.
Andrew, Malaysia

Why should the match be replayed? If Charlton had won 4-1, no one would be talking about a replay now.
Dapo, UK

I admired Curbishley for not blaming the pitch, but his U-turn puts him up there with Wenger and Ferguson in the moaning stakes

Mark, England

Of course the game should be replayed. To say that it was the same for both teams is irrelevant. The rules are there and should be adhered too. Chelsea have supplied a sub-standard pitch for any level of football, let alone the Premier League. Punishment should be dealt in the form of a large club fine or points deduction to make sure this does not happen again.
Andrew Eyles, UK

Charlton have had a good run of late and are clearly unhappy about losing that in such unusual circumstances. Nevertheless, these are Premiership players paid more in a week than many people earn in a year. They should be able to play on broken glass if necessary! The respect Charlton have built up over the way they have played this year is rapidly subsiding because of this. Put up and shut up.
John Alexander, England

Well done Charlton for bringing a pitch that disgraces the League into the public spotlight. Irrespective of replays I know who should be embarrassed by this state of affairs... and it's definitely not Charlton.
Simon Fucchi, England

I admired Curbishley after the match for not blaming the pitch, but his U-turn puts him up there with Wenger and Ferguson in the moaning stakes. There shouldn't be a replay, but if there is I'm sure Chelsea will simply win by a greater margin.
Mark, England

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the state of the pitch at Chelsea! But even more incredulous is the fact that Chelsea seem to have gotten away with it! Am I the only one who saw that the Emperor had no clothes? How could a professional referee allow a game to continue on sand? How can the FA allow it to continue? Unbelievable!
Bradley, Singapore

Chelsea should be penalised either with a suitable fine or points

Mike, UK

I'm a Charlton supporter and I think that Chelsea had an unfair advantage over us as they had time to adjust to the pitch. Or should I say beach!
Dave, England

The issue seems to be whether the surface was intended for the game or the base for the relaying of the pitch the next day. Reports seem to indicate the latter. Additionally the amount of sand seemed extreme and did not reflect normal football conditions. The match should not be replayed. Charlton lost on the day and get no points. Chelsea however should have the points deducted for providing an artificial surface for the game.
Bob, UK

A lot has been made of the pitch, but remember John Terry injured his back slipping on the surface, so Chelsea can't have been happy with the surface either. It's just they coped with the conditions in a better manner.
Gary Little, England

Clearly the pitch was in a terrible state and Charlton have a fair point that the pitch is artificial, but should have protested before the match was played. Anyway Chelsea should not be allowed to play on a pitch in that condition. The Premier League is supposed to be the best league in the world. Pub teams play on better pitches!
Michael Kavanagh, Scotland

Whilst there should be no replay, if the pitch breaks the league rules, then Chelsea should be penalised either with a suitable fine or points, if the league judges that they have gained unfair advantage.
Mike, UK

In any situation it is always down to the referee's decision. If Charlton had won the game I think the wouldn't have complained, it's sour grapes. If they do play it again they will have to get embarrassed once again by the super Blues! Maybe we'll see eight goals next time!
Stuart Gateson, England

Well done to Charlton for the complaint

Alex, Watford, UK

There is no question that the tie should be replayed, Charlton were a lesser team on the day and the pitch was the same for both. Charlton should stop whinging and thank their lucky stars it wasn't on grass!
Chris Benefer, UK

If Charlton are so sure that the Stamford Bridge pitch went against F.A rules, they should have refused to play in the first place. They are just looking for an excuse because they took a hiding.
Mark, UK

You have to ask yourselves whether Charlton would be pursuing this question if they had won the game 4-1. I was there, it wasn't an artificial surface, it played relatively well, and was no advantage to either side. The key point is that the referee gave it the OK. To question that opens up a ridiculous precedent for any future game influenced by weather or surface conditions. Get over it Charlton !
Steve, UK

I don't think the game should have been played in the first place. Perhaps Chelsea should spend more money on a decent pitch and less on players wages who only gamble it away.
Simon, England

If Charlton had simply said "The pitch was appalling", but not made a formal complaint, then would we all be discussing it, and would the FA be investigating it? I seriously doubt it.

The reason they've suggested a replay is because that would be the worst punishment that they could really ask for, especially considering the result. A club with Chelsea's financial backing should not be allowed to get away with having such a disgrace of a pitch. Well done to Charlton for the complaint.
Alex, Watford, UK

Chelsea should be relegated to the conference where their poor excuse of a pitch would be more suited!

Ben, England

Had this game been played at the Valley, with the pitch in the same condition and Charlton had won by the same margin, Ken Bates would have had a field day! Why can't Chelsea invest their money in their pitch, rather than having one of the highest wage bills in the Premier League? Let the result stand, Chelsea don't beat Charlton often, so let the Blues fans have their moment of glory. Believe me, they won't win any trophies this year!
Kevin Sayer, England

If it had been Man Utd, Liverpool or Arsenal it would be replayed!
Steve Green, England

I think Charlton should be docked three points for complaining so much after the referee had made his decision, after the match had been played, and of course most significantly, AFTER the thrashing. Those three points should be given to Chelsea (on top of those from last Saturday) for wasting Chelsea's time in having to cooperate with a meaningless enquiry. It's purely coincidence that I'm a Chelsea fan of course! Totally unbiased!
Andy, UK

The variables of football make the game what it is. Pitches, weather conditions, poor refereeing decisions, team selections, crowd support, time of kick-off, quality of pies...

Grow up Charlton.
Stuart, England

Chelsea should be heavily fined and relegated to the conference where their poor excuse of a pitch would be more suited!
Ben, England

The referee made a mistake and it should not have gone ahead in the first place

Chris, England

Regulations need to be made much clearer, enabling a referee to call off a game on this kind of pitch without fear of repercussions.
Mike McC, Manchester, England

It would be an absolute outrage if this game were replayed and hopefully the powers that be will treat this appeal and complaint with the disdain that it deserves. Charlton are trying it on and it does not do their reputation any good at all.
Graham James, UK

The game should not be replayed since it was passed fit by the ref and a replay would set a dangerous precedent. However the referee made a mistake and it should not have gone ahead in the first place.
Chris, England

If Charlton had complained and refused to play on the pitch then the FA would have come in and deducted their points. That's what happened to 'Boro a few years ago. So, what else were Charlton to do? They deserve a replay. Premiership pitches are not supposed to meet the criteria of a seaside resort, but a world-class playing surface. Replay.
Martin, England

It's not the Addicks who should be embarrassed. How a club as big as Chelsea have got the nerve to charge the exorbitant ticket prices they do, to watch a match on a pitch like that I don't know. And then they expect smaller, better run clubs, like Charlton to just grin and bear it. Ken Bates should be ashamed of himself!
Peter Winny, England

When the final whistle blows, like it or not it's over

Roger, Mexico

If matches were replayed because of the state of the pitch, then Sir Alex Ferguson would have a field day. United would end up with an 100% home record because every time they didn't win they could replay the match until they did win!
Jason, UK

When I saw the pictures on the telly of the pitch at Stamford Bridge I was shocked. Several clubs trying to gain promotion to the league from the conference have been refused because their stadium was not considered fit for the league, yet their pitches were 'Wembley' in comparison. I just think the points should be awarded to Charlton, and taken away from Chelsea.
Garry Biddulph, Ireland

If Charlton are examining video evidence of their players' inability to adapt to the conditions, they will also see that their midfield couldn't be bothered, their defenders can't tackle and their goalie can't catch. Much more important than a pitch, I'd wager!
Rick Glanvill, UK

When the final whistle blows, like it or not it's over. That is the fundamental basis of football. If you want the lawyers and men in suits to appeal against bad offside decisions, wrongful sendings off, that actually affect the result, we will never ever know when a match is over. Keep the corporations away from determining the results. Players do that.
Roger, Mexico

I was there and the pitch was the worst I have ever seen for a Premiership match. Premiership rules prescribe matches are played on grass. This one wasn't. The referee was at fault, he should be admonished and the game replayed.
David, USA/UK

The Chelsea players did have an advantage... being able to pass the ball to a team mate!

Mark, England

"Clutching at straws?" Understatement of the Millennium! The Charlton chairman, I think is getting the wrong intelligence report from his manager and staff.

Fact 1: Chelsea had not trained at Stamford Bridge since Christmas Eve 2002.

Fact 2: The first time Chelsea players saw the pitch was at 1pm on the day of the match with Charlton.

Fact 3: I'm no ecologist but I believe sand is one of the most natural substances that exist. How on earth it can be deemed as artificial beats me!

Charlton grow up! Learn to lose like men.
Michael Bakare, UK

 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
See also:

15 Jan 03 | Charlton Athletic
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