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Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Blues deny "pitch cheat" rumour

In a public statement, Chelsea denied suggestions they had deliberately damaged their pitch ahead of a Champions League game with Barcelona.

In fact, many reports in the English press had drawn attention to pitch repairs carried out at Stamford Bridge this week that involved pouring tons of sand across the field.

It was claimed the sand may have been put down to hinder Barcelona’s fluid passing football when the spanish club play Chelsea on Oct 18.

Actually, the controversy echoes a similar incident when the sides met in the Champions League second round last season.

Then Barcelona claimed Chelsea had watered the turf excessively before the Spanish team trained at Stamford Bridge in a bid to disrupt their preparations.

However, Chelsea insist the sand was part of routine pitch work and a club spokesperson said: “Whilst the Chelsea players are away representing their national teams, an 18-day break between home fixtures has allowed our ground staff to carry out routine maintenance work on the Stamford Bridge field.

“The drainage system is being improved with additional drainage channels dug to ensure the pitch remains in top condition.

“We know that there are few times in the season when we can ensure our pitch remains in perfect condition.

“The international break allows us to carry out this work towards our aim of maintaining our playing surface as one of the best in the league” he concluded.

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