European Qualifiers: Wembley chief Roger Maslin defends state of pitch ahead of England clash
Last Updated: 10/11/14 6:38pm
Wembley's managing director has admitted the state of the pitch at the national stadium is below its usual standard and says it could be March before it is back to its best.
Roger Maslin, however, defended the decision to host NFL games at the stadium just six days before an England international, saying the cause of the pitch problems was not the American football matches but treatment administered during the summer.
England manager Roy Hodgson last week questioned the Football Association's decision to host NFL games at Wembley so close to national team matches - England host Slovenia on Saturday after the Dallas Cowboys played the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend.
Maslin told the FA's official website: "We strive to deliver the best possible surface, so I'm slightly disappointed that the surface isn't as good as it should be but I'm confident it will be back to its pristine state after a winter renovation.
"This isn't so much a problem of the NFL but of our summer renovation and I am confident the renovation will get it back to how it's been ever since we switched over to Desso in 2010.
"However, due to slightly too much topsoil during the summer renovation there's more marking and scarring on the pitch than we'd want."
The Desso surface has artificial fibres woven into the natural grass providing greater durability and since 2010 there have been few of the problems which dogged the Wembley pitch before then.
Hodgson met Maslin for talks after his comments last week and the Wembley chief will meet the England boss again later this week.
Maslin added: "Roy is totally entitled to his opinion. We have a very good working relationship with the England team and we'll be working closely with them this week to ensure we deliver the best possible playing surface for the game on Saturday.
"I met Roy at the end of last week and no doubt we'll pick up with the team on Thursday and Friday this week too.
"While the pitch will not be of the very highest standard we want for the Slovenia game, it will still be a good playing surface. We do expect it to be back to its best by March for the Lithuania game."