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Coventry hits out after stadium pitch becomes ‘unplayable’

English Championship football club Coventry City has expressed its frustrations after its match scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) against Wigan Athletic was postponed due to an “unplayable” pitch.

The postponement marks the third game at the Coventry Building Society Arena to be affected since problems with the pitch emerged following the use of the stadium for the rugby sevens tournament during the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.

The stadium hosted a total of 65 sevens matches, with Coventry having already postponed a Championship clash with Rotherham United and moved an EFL Cup tie with Bristol City to the home of Burton Albion.

Coventry chief executive Dave Boddy, who has already said that relocating more fixtures “would not be feasible”, said: “We simply want our landlords Wasps to provide a pitch which is safe and fit for purpose.”

An EFL statement added: “The decision follows the commissioning of an independent report by an internationally established group of sports turf experts.

“The report confirmed there is no maintenance work possible that would make the pitch safe in time for Tuesday’s game. Playing on the surface in its existing state would pose a risk to players and match officials.

“The league will now consider the circumstances of both postponements before determining what course of action could be taken and will remain in regular dialogue with the club over the work required to make the pitch safe and playable as soon as is practically possible.”

City is a tenant at the 32,000-capacity stadium, which has been owned by Wasps since the Premiership Rugby club’s move to the city in 2014.

Wasps Group chief executive Stephen Vaughan said last week that City had been advised to find a new location for the club’s opening matches of the campaign, and added: “They were fully aware of the timetable of events.”

Boddy responded by saying: “Even if we had been able to have our first three league games scheduled away, as requested by Wasps, which wasn’t possible due to the EFL fixture sequencing rules which apply equally to all clubs, it is clear that the pitch still would not have been playable.

“We are very disappointed to report the lack of improvement in the pitch. But, to be clear, this is not the fault of the ground staff.

“Our concerns over the quality of the pitch have not been addressed. We were extremely disappointed to be told in June that Wasps had made the decision not to take any action to put a new surface in.”