1 Millennium Stadium moves quickly to solve pitch problems

Millennium Stadium moves quickly to solve pitch problems

Millennium Stadium General Manager Paul Sergeant has moved quickly to try to resolve the problems that caused many areas of the turf at the Stadium to tear during Saturday's RBS Six Nations championship victory over England.

With John Toshack's first game in charge of the Wales national football side to be played at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday night, and the Carling Cup Final between Liverpool and Chelsea scheduled for Cardiff on Sunday, 27 February, Sergeant has taken the following steps to not only repair the damage caused at the weekend, but to enhance the playing surface:

· The pitch contractors, In-Turf, have been suspended

· A new team of pitch consultants have been brought in to work under the guidance of Dave Saltman, who spent four months at the stadium last year

· 200 - 250 metres of new turf will arrive at the stadium on Tuesday morning to replace the damaged areas

· Paul Sergeant has spoken to the FAW and Football League to keep them abreast of developments and liaised with the Sports Turf Research Institute over the difficulties

"What happened during the game last Saturday was unfortunate and embarrassing. We can't hide from the facts and we can't make excuses," said Sergeant. "What we have done since the game ended on Saturday night is discuss the issues with our contractors, introduce a new team of experts who have experience of managing our palletised system and looked for the best possible solution for Wednesday night's game.

"It is imperative that John Toshack's side can have confidence in the playing surface when they meet Hungary on Wednesday night and I believe they will be happy with the measures we are taking. Football obviously does not put the same pressure on the turf as rugby, but the players must have a safe, playable surface on which to play.

"That's our immediate priority and we will be working through the night on Tuesday and all day Wednesday to ensure the pitch is in the best possible condition for the game. Looking further forward, we will continue to consult with STRI and the Football League ahead of the Carling Cup Final.

"There are technical reasons behind some of the failures of the pitch system last weekend and we will be doing all we can to find the right solutions to them. The best stadium in the world must have a suitable playing surface for all its events."

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Contact Kerry Haywood

07973 394037

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