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Only three weeks before the season's official opening, the Community Shield between Chelsea and Manchester United, Wembley officials have decided to replace the pitch at the new stadium.

The pitch has been criticised for the manner in which it has cut up and summer concerts have not helped the re-growth.

Head grounds manager Steve Welch said: "Our intention was to assess the condition of the pitch after our first summer of concerts with a view to replacing it in time for our autumn run of football and rugby events.

"This has been planned for and there is sufficient time for the pitch surface to bed in." The season starts at Wembley on Aug 5. Welch said: "We are very confident that with the correct maintenance and care the stadium's grounds staff can give it, the new pitch will be of a very high standard."

A Wembley statement said: "Time has been set aside to replace the pitch both now, following the summer concert season and also at the end of the year after The Race of Champions, featuring Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and David Coulthard."
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