Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Wednesday April 7 2010
Wigan Athletic and Hull City could be under pressure over the dual use of their home grounds, plus Manchester United could lose the Rugby League Grand Final.
Following complaints to the Premier League about the state of the pitches at the DW Stadium and KC Stadium this season it has been decided to debate during the summer whether Premier League clubs should be made to play at single use stadiums in order to safe guard the playing surfaces.
The pitch at the DW has been badly affected this winter by the treacherous weather conditions that were confounded when the undersoil heating system broke and left the stadium looking like a quagmire.
Following the visit of Everton to the DW Stadium on 30th January an official complaint was received by the Premier League over the state of the pitch and subsequently it was re-laid at the end of February, this being the earliest opportunity.
There is quite a bit of publicity surrounding the playing surface at the DW Stadium and the media tend to put this down to both football and rugby being played there at the same time but it isn`t quite that simple.
In the time between July 25th 2009 and 5th February 2010 Wigan Warriors played just 3 games at the DW Stadium with the last game being 20th September 2009, hardly a hammering of the pitch by any stretch of the imagination.
When the Robin Park site was chosen for the Latics new stadium there were concerns raised over the location, the ground is built on an old landfill tip site on what is effectively marsh land in very close proximity to a river.
Now add that to the fact that the drains allegedly weren`t laid properly allowing flood water to come from the river to the ground and that there are gigantic tanks of sludge buried underneath the pitch is it any wonder that there are major problems.
The Latics face annual difficulties with their pitch and look likely to admit to the need to re-lay the playing surface at least once every two years to keep it up to Premier League standards whilst the Rugby Football League has recently agreed to Wigan Warriors request to avoid any home matches in May to allow the Latics to carry out further work on the surface that was re-laid last month.
The Premier League is elitist enough without taking action to make the grounds single use only, many of the stadiums around the country could be put to better use and get the communities involved with ground sharing initiatives, indeed the FA`s showpiece ground Wembley is a multi use arena, whatever the problems with the DW and KC stadiums wont be resolved by kicking out tenants.
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Date:Wednesday April 7 2010
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