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Hodgson concerned over NFL impact on Wembley pitch

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England football manager Roy Hodgson has met Wembley officials to discuss the state of the stadium’s pitch, amid concerns the hosting of last Sunday’s National Football League (NFL) match came just six days before his side’s crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia on Saturday (15 November).

Hodgson met Roger Maslin, MD of Wembley Stadium, to inspect the pitch after a press conference last week, during which he was critical of the scheduling as the Football Association (FA) bids to protect both the pitch and its cash flows. Wembley has been plagued by pitch problems and Hodgson has previously expressed discontent at the impact events such as NFL may have on his side’s chances.

Sunday’s NFL match between Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys was the latest fixture to take place at Wembley, in what is becoming a lucrative sideline for the stadium cost £757m to build. And the difficult juggling act looks likely to continue, with the announcement that three more NFL fixtures will be hosted there next year, while a recent study found that a Wembley-based NFL team would be worth more than £100m a year to the UK economy.

At the press conference before his meeting with Maslin, Hodgson said the pitch was “not in the best of nick” and he was “a bit unhappy” with the situation.

“We will adapt and get on with it and hopefully in the future the pitch will recover to its normal level and when it has done that we will be better able to support this kind of activity,” said Hodgson.

Wembley’s pitch has long been a source of controversy. Before the current Desso pitch – a combination of man-made fibres and natural grass – was put in place, the pitch had to be relaid 11 times in its first three years of use.

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England football manager Roy Hodgson has met Wembley officials to discuss the state of the stadium’s pitch, amid concerns the hosting of last Sunday’s National Football League (NFL) match came just six days before his side’s crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia on Saturday (15 November).
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Hodgson said the pitch was 'not in the best of nick' at a recent press conference / katatonia82 / Shutterstock.com