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Wembley confident pitch will be perfect for Carling Cup final

Wembley Stadium has assured Arsenal and Birmingham that there will be no problems with the pitch at Sunday's Carling Cup final. Roger Maslin, managing director of Wembley Stadium Ltd, told BBC Sport: "I won't lose any sleep worrying about how the pitch will play now the changes have been made."

Maslin has led the move to install a Desso pitch - this was laid in June last year, and meant the top foot of the old surface replaced by new seeded grass which is strengthened with artificial fibre, which makes up 3% of the playing surface. Arsenal, Real Madrid and Monaco are among the top European clubs to have a Desso pitch.

"For Arsenal who have a Desso surface they will recognise the quality of surface, the lack of divots and the speed of play. It's in fantastic condition," said Maslin. "It's fundamental to our business plan to have the best possible playing surface, but at the same time it accords with our business plan as a multi-use venue."

Maslin also revealed England coach Fabio Capello and assistant Franco Baldini have been consulted about the change.

"They are delighted with what we've now done and I think the really good news is the England team are now training here which I think is fantastic and itself is a statement," Maslin added.

"From his [Capello's] point of view he would clearly like for the England team to have the best possible surface and to make sure that the only thing we were ever to do on that surface is play football. But he understands that we are a multi-purpose event holder and it's a juggling act."

Uefa has also taken a keen interest in the state of the pitch, with Wembley hosting the Champions League final on 28 May. To ensure the surface is in its best condition no other sport except football will be played on the pitch until Uefa's showpiece event.

"It gives you that extra confidence," Maslin explained. "Although I have no doubts whatsoever that if we did have a rugby union game there we could deliver a brilliant surface for the Champions League.

"I think we can all learn lessons from the Wembley experience in terms of what we can do with the particular surface."

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Dave Williams

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